When it’s Ok to Take a Break from Running
Running’s great. Don’t get me wrong. I love everything about the sport. I love the challenge, I love the camaraderie, I love the community, I love the way it makes me feel, and I love that it brings out the best in me… well usually.
Despite my ongoing love for the sport, sometimes I don’t really love it. To be upfront, there are times when I hate it. Yes, hate it. Don’t get your rundies in a bunch, my love for it will come back, but right now I need to accept the fact that “Where is the Love” by the Black Eyed Peas, is my running anthem.
Frustration with Running
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can get so frustrated with it. I run and run and run and don’t seem to get anywhere. I’m tired all the time, I’m irritable – my alarm clock telling me it’s time to run sounds more like the drill at the dentist office making me cringe as I open my eyes. I believe many of us have had this experience, but are too afraid to admit it. I’ve been there, for a while now. Which is why I am writing this article. I am speaking to you!
Most runners are stubborn. We like that running sucks sometimes. It makes us feel more “BA” about ourselves. Running might not have the most cool points on the cool sports scale, so we’ve gotta take all the “BA” points we can get. Occasionally, there comes a point though when running always sucks. For me, that point came about a month ago.
After a long recovery from a stress fracture in the neck of my femur, I started to run in early May. At first it was hard, like I knew it would be. I had cross-trained pretty diligently though out the recovery, so I salvaged as much fitness as I could. I figured I would be in the clear after a few weeks. I was wrong. Running is hard, and it is still hard. I have new bone pains that I am trying to be cautious of, and I have legs that feel like bricks. This may sound like a sob story, but I assure it’s not… I have a point.
My point is, for the last four years, I have constantly tried to maintain this level of fitness that should only be maintained for short bouts of time. I haven’t let my body rest, and because of that, I have injured myself and lost that passion I once had. Passion I know is still there, but has been clouded by all the crappy things that have happened.
Injuries, weariness, overtraining are all things I don’t recommend, but they also teach you a great deal about your body. If it weren’t for these things, I would keep beating my head (and body) against a brick wall hoping the end result would be different. This is the definition of insanity.
So, I guess you could say I am insane. Well, I was insane.
I finally decided to take a step back from running and get some clarity. I joined a master’s league swim team and swim a few times a week. I bought a quarter life crisis road bike, and still have my running shoes, which I throw on whenever I feel like it. I stopped logging miles, and I stopped worrying about mileage. I lift more weights. I let go of a lot of my OCD related to running. And you know what, it’s great!
Sure, right now I am not fast. I am not race fit or even have the desire to race competitively right now, but for the first time in years, I’m ok with that. I have a feeling I will get the racing bug back and trade in my morning swims for morning runs, but at this moment I’ll stick to swimming.
I have finally come to terms with the fact that it’s ok not to love running all the time. And, it’s ok to step away from it. Running will always be part of my life, and I assure you I will be back to challenge my PRs and race like there is no tomorrow, but right now I’m content with just being me. I’m content with not defining myself in terms of personal bests or All-American titles.
Is it time for You to Step Away?
If you have ever felt this way about running, I encourage you to step away from it. Rejuvenate yourself! Chances are you’ll hear running calling you back and have a desire to pick it up again. Trust me, I think my spikes are already whispering sweet nothings into my ear.