So, I have a confession. I am a struggling runner. Yes, I admit it.
I wasn’t always a struggling runner. Actually, I wasn’t always a runner. When my friend suggested we run a half marathon I was all for it. I’m not sure why other than the fact I was bored with just walking. I started training for the half, but as I’ve shared in another post, I didn’t think of myself as a runner until after the race.
When I realized I couldn’t talk myself into staying in bed instead of going for a run, I knew I was a runner. I had great discipline. I ran six days a week, three miles each day. (After my half marathon training, I fell into a 5k habit.) I even used running as a reward. I was addicted to the feeling after completing the run.
Then, something happened and I quit getting up to run. I finally succeeded in talking myself into staying in bed. I can’t even tell you what changed. I wish I knew.
I ran sporadically for a while and then went for months without running. Months! I ran every day and then nothing. I never stopped thinking of myself as a runner, but I couldn’t seem to get my shoes laced up to go. It seemed like so much work to get out of the door and then I would have to spend time afterward cleaning up. It was a lot of time out of my day. Time I could be doing something, anything other than running.
All this time I am chastising myself for not running. I repeatedly said to my close friends, “I need to get back at it.” I could feel the progress I developed slipping away, yet I did nothing about it.
I know it sounds like I was depressed, but I didn’t feel depressed. I just struggled with the run. I have always been open and honest about my love/hate relationship with running and these were dark days in our relationship.
On occasion, we would be friendly. I would hit the pavement a couple times a week and be disgusted with how slow and difficult it became. I’d vow to get back into my routine. Then, nothing. It seemed I lost my drive to run along with my ability (granted I was never a great runner, but I am proud of my personal record). I was slow and the run was a struggle.
Now, I am running about 3-4 days per week. I still want to get back to my 6 days a week, if for nothing else than to establish a habit. The rest days are my undoing. It seems any break from running will derail my efforts. I love the feeling running gives me. It is more than just the feeling of accomplishment that comes when the “finish” line is crossed. It is a confidence booster and I feel stronger. I feel better overall. I wish I could remember this when thinking about not running that day.
I still struggle. All runners struggle through a run here and there. Right now, I am struggling more than not, but I intend to keep running. Soon, I hope, I will get back to my habit of running every day. Until then, I confess I am a struggling runner.
What keeps you motivated? Share your tips in the comments.
I updated this post along with several others and added some new essays and put them together in a running memoir. Sign up to my weekly-ish newsletter for updates on its release!