Not sure why or how, but lately it sure seems I am experiencing a running renaissance. This may come as a surprise to some of you. So, let’s look at what renaissance means: A renewal of life, vigor, interest.
As you might recall, I had such a tough summer of training. No need to go into any further details since it has all been already documented here.
The Fall rolled around and I felt I barely made it to SF for the half marathon on my birthday in Sept. Then, I thought….I am going to rest. Just chill and take a break from the running for a while. Well, what is “awhile”?
In my mind, I thought I would try to not run at all for about a month. Well, that didn’t happen. I just couldn’t sit still. Plus, the Fall is such an awesome time to be outside. The temperatures cool, the humidity falls away and becomes nonexistent. How could I not want to be running in this weather?? And, I feel that FALL running sorta adds it’s own natural/organic inspiration. The scenery, the environment completely changes and it’s such a natural time of reflection and contemplation. The air seems fresher, cleaner and like I can breathe deeper. So, I’ve been taking deeper breaths as I am rounding the corners and crunching on leaves and feeling the Fall air on my arms, face, fingers.
I feel my legs moving more swiftly as I tackle the hills of the Atlanta neighborhoods. My legs feel lighter, my entire body feels lighter, even weightless at times. I face the hills and I am running up them with a quickness that has surprised me. I am getting to the tops with less effort than I remember from the past. Most of my runs have all beeen with negative splits, which feels awesome! Where has all this come from?
I’m sure part of it is the volume has come way down! Today, for the first time ever, I thought back to the summer training and do believe I ran a bunch of junk miles. JUNK MILES = miles just to get in miles thinking I needed more when in fact I didn’t. An important lesson.
I didnt know it then, but I can recognize it now and apply this to my future training.
Perhaps part of this “renaissance” I am experiencing is also due to the break in a specific goal or a specific race in mind. I think I needed the break from that kind of self inflicted pressure. Looking back to the first 6 months of the year as I tried to break 2 hours in the half marathon distance….I put a lot of pressure on myself to accomplish it. Came close, but failed. Then, immediately afterwards, signed up for the full marathon and summer training. More pressure. In the midst of all this self inflicted pressure was also dramatic changes in my work life that came with real external pressure. I think it all just got to me. Now, for the record, let me clarify: I actually like pressure. Like the challenge of it. However, like everything in life, there is a limit and I definitely bumped up against mine. And obviously, I like goals and setting them, etc…. I just needed a break from them since I had a specific running goal for about 9 months.
So, since my last race in Sept, I have been running, but without any specific goal. As of today, there is no race on my calendar. In the last month or so, I have not gone any distance over 6 miles. The coolest part about all this is that I am running FASTER without much extra effort. In fact, I feel like I have NOT focused on effort much at all. Just going out running…I have felt loose, free, light and my mind feels quieter while on the roads.