overtraining

When I Don’t Run, I Remember Why I Do

When I don’t run my whole world falls apart. I don’t eat well. I don’t drink enough water. I’m grumpy. I have no energy. I start to feel pudgy and my pants get tight. Of course, it takes not running for me to realize exactly how important it is to my life and my happiness.

I’ve been struggling lately. My lazy side has gotten the best of me.

Since marathon training is no longer something looming over my head I find myself de-prioritizing (is that a word?) my runs. Marathon training and to some degree half marathon training forces you to run. You don’t have a choice.

You have 12 miles scheduled and your husband can’t watch the kids? Put them in the stroller and go.

Pouring down rain? Go.

20 degrees? Go.

That’s great when you’re trying to loose 40 pounds of baby weight so you can fit back into your pants. Being forced to exercise is good, until it isn’t. What I did was give myself a serious case of burnout.

I need to change my mindset from having to run to wanting to run. A task which is proving to be somewhat more difficult than I’d hoped.

Marathon recovery this time around was much worse than before. I pushed myself harder during the race and I think I tried to get back to running too quickly afterwards. I didn’t give my body enough time to heal itself from the damage I’d done. As a result almost every run I’ve done since then has been brutal. The first month after the marathon, during the “recovery” time frame, my heart rate would spike and I had trouble breathing. Most of my runs turned into runs with walk breaks.

The problems with recovery were followed by the weather, more specifically the wind. OH THE WIND. Nothing spells misery quite like pushing a 100 pound double jogging stroller into a 20 mph headwind. If I looked outside and saw the trees blowing (which seemed like every day) instead of doing the right thing and taking the kids to the Y I would just throw my shoes back in the closet and eat a handful of M&Ms.

Not cool, Joni. Not cool.

So here I am. Almost through April and I’ve only gone running eight times this month, three of those in the last three days. I’m struggling to find a groove.

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The last few days I’ve been trying to change up my routine, doing more to focus on the run and less on the work of running. I’ve altered my route to see different scenery. I’ve instituted a mandatory walk break halfway which is more to help me get out the door than is actually needed on the run. I’ve turned off my radio which is making me much more aware of my surroundings, not just the sounds but the sights too. We stop at the playground on our route to make it easier to get Evie in the stroller, which she’s been fighting lately. Most importantly, I’ve slowed down which makes running more fun, at least for me.

Thankfully, this struggle has a purpose.

By not running I am reminded of how important it is to my life and to my happiness. It’s not until I don’t run that I remember why I do.

I run because it makes my happy. I run to be strong both physically and mentally. I run to be the person I want my kids to become. I run because it holds my entire life together. Without running, I fall apart.

Ironically, do you know when I figured all this out?

On a run, of course.