In the past couple weeks my running has taken an interesting turn. After the close of my running series (that I ended up winning my category in and coming 8th female overall!) and my emotional upheaval last month, my running has been less about intensity and more about the experience. I’ve allowed myself to let loose, forget about time and the stress that comes with meeting a certain pace, and allow myself to just focus on the miles. I switched from a set, regimented playlist with planned tempos to playing my iPod on shuffle and taking the songs as they come. I’ve worried less about finishing in under a certain time and booked off entire mornings to complete my long run with Starbucks pitstops halfway through.
I know that by seeing my runs these past couple weeks as a success simply because I was able to get out the door and log the miles gave me the freedom to make it to the end of the kilometres. Yesterday my training plan had a big, fat 25km marked in the calendar. I know that in the situation I’m in of being still in the works of getting back on my feet and finding my inner strength, that if I placed a time goal on the run, I would have given up halfway. Instead, I gave myself the freedom to have a sense of play in my run. I was able to make it to that 25km mark (with a time on par with my other long runs) but without the stress of making pace. It was amazing to see how accustomed my body was to continue the training it has been through and to see what it could do without my mind holding me back.
I’m not sure where you are at in your fitness intensity. Whether you have set goals you strive towards, milestones you want to hit before a certain date, or just take it day by day. But, I do want to encourage you to allow yourself the ability to let some of the stress go. Our lives are filled with planning, schedules, and time restraints. We live in an incredibly fast world that sees success and quickness as synonyms. So who is forcing us to treat out fitness the same way? Why can’t we measure fitness success by the way we feel instead of by the time our Garmin says?