2020 has hit hard, it has literally sucked the life out of my running and race goals. To top off all of the canceled races, I ended up with a stress fracture, which completely sidelined me from running. Poetic don’t ya think?
Currently, I am at the end of my injury healing, watching 2021 races already being postponed or going virtual, feeling lost, and then I realized…I need to refocus my running and running goals. Ever since I started running in my 20s, I have always had a goal race. My on/off seasons naturally ebbed and flowed based on the 1 or 2 races I ran a year, and while I can find plenty of virtual races to run, I just don’t feel like racing is my drive anymore. I need a new run focus, and to find that I asked myself these questions.
- What motivates me to lace up and run?
- What type of runner do I want to be & why?
- What’s the greatest thing about my running?
- What can I do to keep myself injury-free?
- Where do I want my running to be in 5 years?
What motivated me to lace up?
My love of running! Notice I didn’t ask myself why I ran. Over the years I have said things like “I run for my kids” “I run because it is me time” “I run to lose weight/stay healthy” but at the end of the day I can have a million reason why I run but what I need is what motivates me to run. Love…I love to go for a run knowing that in the end I will feel exhilarated and tired and energized all at the same time.
What type of runner do I want to be?
Simple answer…a healthy one. I want to go back to being a runner free of injuries. The why of this is simple…#1 not running sucks. #2 I don’t want to have to stop running, ever. So keeping myself healthy and running injury free is a huge focus item.
What is the greatest thing about my running?
This is another easy answer… accomplishment. People get so wrapped up in the minutia of their running. I have been there. Pace, distance, speed, style, all of it. But at the end of the day, whether I sprint 1 mile or slowly hammer out 20, it is a huge accomplishment. This is one reason I personally love virtual races (besides the bling), they may not be done with huge crowds of people, but the distance run and the accomplishment of running it is still very, very in real life. I am out there doing a hard thing, and I am not giving up.
What can I do to keep myself injury free?
Take my sport serious. Running is notoriously known for injuries because it is a hard activity. It isn’t bad for your body, it just requires a level of respect and…body maintenance. I am horrible at this. It’s boring. Running is fun, and challenging; stretching is not. But if I look at strength and mobility as part of my training, and a necessity of my sport, it looks a bit more appealing. In addition to this, I need to accept that I am 45. I am completely comfortable with being 45, but I don’t always accept it as much as I should when it comes to running. My brain remembers that 21-year old who could sit on the couch for a month and then get up one day and go run 10 miles because why not, but my body reminds me I am not that person anymore. So taking time for maintenance of this body, carrying all of these miles, will keep me in for the long run. (see what I did there?)
Where do I want my running to be in 5 years?
Consistent. I want to be running with the same vigor and health in 5 years that I am working on developing now. I want to have the solid respect I am trying to work on at the moment, along with an iron-clad maintenance routine, that is not optional. I want the next 5 years to set the stage for my running well into old age.
Oh, I threw one more question in. I have decided that my focus is to be a healthy, consistent runner, but what do I do now? Well, now I will take the time to write out some definable goals for my running. S.M.A.R.T. goals that can help me with my newly defined focus. Setting my goals off of my focus will give my running a different look in the face of this pandemic. I won’t be so focused on a race calendar that may be canceled or changed at a moment’s notice; I won’t have the stress of trying to find the right training program that will fit in the 10 races I want to do. I will focus on each run, the maintenance work after that run, and adding more cross-training activities. Then once I have those goals laid out, I can start to sprinkle in races, virtual or otherwise.
Go find your focus
Now that you have read all about what I plan to do go find your own focus. Maybe your motivation is dead, or you just aren’t into your goals anymore. Take the time to ask yourself these 5 questions and see where it takes you. Take the time to journal each one and see what you come up with. Most of us have a deep-seated love of running (even if we actually hate it) and don’t really want to stop running. We just need a new focus, new ideas, fresh motivation. So take some time and get to know your running.