For the last fifteen years or so, I have approached running with the same mindset: be a better runner than I have been. This resulted in me always pushing the envelope, and trying to run just a few more miles, or do slightly more intense workouts, than I had before. For years, this resulted in lots of time spent training and personal records.
Lately, though, after suffering a few injuries that derailed my training for a while, and trying to find a good balance of training with raising a family, I found that I no longer want to be a better runner than I was in my twenties. I no longer have the time or the ability to run 80 miles per week, and I know that even if I did train that hard, I still won’t be able to run faster than I did ten years ago. So what is the point in training my ass off to run mediocre times?
For the past few years, I have been threatening to scale back my training and adopt a healthier relationship with running, but each year, I have been struck by the bug to try to nab just one more PR, and my new, balanced lifestyle only lasts a few weeks before I resume training hard again. Not this time, though! I no longer have any desire to run every day of the week, or to run 10+ miles a day. It just got too exhausting, and wasn’t enjoyable any more.
So I changed my mindset from trying to be the best runner I could be to just wanting to be in decent shape. For me, that means being able to compete with some of my teammates and competitors in cross country and road races. It does not mean stressing out over trying to get a run in every day. It does not mean having a structured training plan that I try to follow to the letter. What it does mean is running when I am able, and having more time and energy to dedicate to my family.
And let me tell you, it is wonderful. Life is so much more enjoyable when I’m not worried about when I am going to run any given day. And, thanks to fifteen years of running in my legs, I can still run decent times despite not training super hard. Here’s to a more balanced life from now on!