Years ago, when I was in high school running cross country there was a Nike commercial that featured the tag line, “Got the love.”
I didn’t get it at the time, I didn’t understand what it meant but my parents did and they referenced it often when they were trying to push me to do something great.
It wasn’t until I was training for my first marathon that I really got it.
Got the love means working hard, pushing your body through pain and your mind through torment to achieve something you didn’t think possible. It means total dedication both in mind and body. It means doing things that other people would find crazy and still wanting more. “Got the love,” is a wonderful three word phrase that perfectly describes how I feel about running most of the time.
Lately though, I’ve struggled. After some tough training for the Houston Half and now six weeks into training for my second marathon I’m battling some burn out. My runs haven’t been fun in a while, they’re a chore. Every. Single. One.
Just getting out the door takes every bit of will power I have. Each run is completed because I have to not because I want to. For me running is fun and this hasn’t been fun in a over a month.
I thought I could power through it. Just suck it up, put on my big girl panties and deal with it. I tried for six weeks to push though it and finally decided that I really just needed a break.
So, somewhat reluctantly, I decided to take all of this past week off. My schedule was going to be messed up anyway because of the holiday and our camping trip (post coming soon!) so it was the perfect time to take a little running break.
I didn’t run at all. Not one step. Was it hard? No. Not at all, a sure sign that it was a much needed break. I had an extra hour every day to do other stuff – prepare for our camping trip, cook food for Thanksgiving and play with my kids. It was great!
Yesterday, a full seven days after my last run, I was actually happy to put on my shoes and go for my morning run, six miles on a gloriously warm December morning. Unlike all my runs recently, I actually enjoyed it. The sun was out, the wind was brisk and the air was fresh. I took it slow since I hadn’t run in a week and even enjoyed some conversation with my overly chatty passenger. We stopped at the playground on my route and Evie got to enjoy some running time of her own.
I do feel like I lost a little bit of fitness during my week off but whatever I lost physically I made up for mentally.
We talk a lot about physical injury in the running community. We talk about shin splints, runners knee, IT band syndrome and plantar faciitis but we rarely talk about mental injury and that’s what I think this was. So much of running is about attitude, confidence and determination, the love. You need a strong mind to build a strong body.
I don’t feel that my mind is completely healed but after a week off I’m in a much better place than I was. Now it’s back to marathon training!