Running: where did the fun go?

It’s been a while since I blogged. It’s been a while since I ran. It’s been a while since I was motivated to run. It’s been a while since I enjoyed running.

When running is your therapy. But it stops working. What do you do?

Running has always been a form of therapy for me. It’s there when I need to declutter my brain after a stressful day. It’s there when I’m angry and I need some time to think. It’s there when I’m sad and I need some time alone to reflect. It’s there when my body confidence is low and it reminds me how strong I am.

No matter which complicated feeling I’m experiencing running always helps. I always arrive home feeling, even if it’s only a tiny bit, better.

However that’s not been the case recently. It seems that I’ve been unable to enjoy (some would say) the mindfulness of running.

Trying to pinpoint why I’m not enjoying it is the difficult part.

I’m beginning to think it’s the performance part of running. For even if I head out to allow myself to think, I’d still start my Garmin. I’d still take a look at my stats when I come home. So is my technology taking away the mindfulness of running?

There are runs when I start my Garmin, head out, allow myself to unwind, or think and not check my watch throughout. I’d just feel good. I’d feel strong. I’d feel more relaxed. More clarity. And upon returning home I’d check my Garmin and see I was running a slow pace. So all the joy I had been feeling soon disappears as I try to pinpoint why I was slow.

I’m not hating on technology. I love being able to track my runs, see my performance, connect with others. I’m a Social Media Manger so the tech side and community side has always been something I’ve enjoyed. But recently I’m beginning to think I need concentrate on how I feel about running. Rather than how my Garmin feels about my running.

So in an effort to try and find the joy in running again. I’m switching off my Garmin. I actually went for a run this morning. Headed out and realised I’d not started my Garmin. But before I pressed ‘start run’ I paused and thought no. I need this run for me, not for my Garmin. So I ran without allowing my Garmin to track anything. Just me, my dog, and my feelings.

I enjoyed my run. I didn’t miss knowing if I was slow. If I PB’d through the woods. If I’d got even splits. I just enjoyed it.

So with no race in sight for the time being. I’m temporarily retiring my Garmin until I start to find the fun in running again.

Have you ever lost the fun in running? How did you find it again?

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3 Comments

  1. Leonard

    Hey Cat, sorry to hear you aren’t enjoying running as much at the moment… To be fair it’s a phase we all go through at one stage or another. From personal experience, I find we eventually come through better in some way, more aware or committed… I wrote about a similar experience here: https://sisyphusruns.blog/2018/02/20/sisyphus-and-the-myth-of-linear-progression/

    Leaving your Garmin home sounds like a great idea, but also remember that “every run has its purpose”: some are supposed to be at tempo pace and slower isn’t ideal; on speed reps you are interested in lap pace (av pace tends to be affected by recoveries), hill reps you can’t really judge on pace alone, long runs are more about pace consistency or progression during the run… Similarly recovery / easy / comfortable runs are about (for me at least) the mental side, and letting my body remember that running isn’t always about working hard – creating some positive reinforcement if you will. I still use my Suunto watch on these as well, but if I pay any attention to it at all it’s to slow myself down.

    Another discovery I’ve made was Nike’s NRC+ Guided Runs; the concept seemed cheesy, but all I’ve listened to are absolutely spot on, especially the ones with Andy Puddicombe (Headspace co-founder) – have you tried it?

    Hope the fun comes back soon and good luck for your race tomorrow!

    Like

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