Ok, so if you’re reading this, you’re probably a regular runner. You like to sleep, eat, and breathe running. Getting Runner’s World in the mail is the best day of each month, a new pair of shoes feels like running on pillowy clouds, and you likely pack your running gear in your suitcase before your ‘civilian’ clothes before going anywhere, vacation or otherwise.
Unfortunately, as much as you love it, some days just feel more difficult than others. I had one of these days yesterday.
Afternoon lethargy creeped up on me in the afternoon at work. I tried to kick myself out of this feeling by sipping on a small cup of coffee and eating some oatmeal. It didn’t work. I went home, sat on my couch with my coat still on, and thought to myself, “Do I have to run today?”. Cue the endless cycle of bad thoughts and justifications for thinking these bad thoughts.
I’ve only run once this week.
Why am I so tired?
I am so behind.
Rest is more important.
It’s cold out.
I don’t want to go to the packed gym.
The treadmill is so boring.
Am I going to meet my goal this spring?
Is my mileage too low?
What can I accomplish if I don’t run tonight?
Won’t I feel better if I stay home & watch TV on the couch?
And so on.
So I did what I usually do in this situation. I decided to settle. I would run easy for 45 minutes and move my tempo workout to Friday morning. It was a good solution. I wasn’t in the mood to push myself, but I knew that A run was better than NO run. I just needed an easy run to clear my head.
Something happened when I left my apartment. It’s been balmy here in Chicago all week. And last night it was 32 degrees when I left for my easy run. A weird foggy mist was in the air and it was a calm night with light wind. In other words, perfect running weather. I got started and instantly felt lighter. I looked down at my watch after only 0.84 miles. Already? If I had been running on a treadmill, this probably would have felt like an eternity. Somewhere between 0.84 and 0.99 miles, I changed my mind and decided to suck it up.
“I will run my tempo tonight afterall”. My watch beeped at the 1 mile mark and I pushed the pace. And I’m so glad I did. Because 7 miles later, I returned home feeling accomplished, refreshed, proud, and relaxed. I didn’t feel like a blob for backing down from a tough workout.
It only took about 6 minutes of physical activity for my body and mind to tell me the same thing:
Thank you! You just needed to RUN!