Injury · Running

My New Definition of Running

Hi everyone!  I know I announced this last week on Global Running Day, but I have tentatively started running again!

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And this time, my return to running is totally different.  The first time I returned to running after my injury back in December, I was obsessed with returning to my non-injured running level as quickly as possible.  When my injury returned due to doing too much too fast in February, I was devastated.  I was afraid to try running again for a while because my injury would return after long hikes or a tough yoga or weight class at the gym, and I just knew my body wasn’t ready.  And most of all, I knew my mind wasn’t ready to try and fail with running again.  So I decided to focus on my PT work and to train for my first triathlon instead.  And that process completely changed me as a runner.  I learned that my body is capable of doing amazing things that aren’t running, and that I can find joy in other activities like swimming and biking.  I felt all the pressure I unnecessarily put on myself over returning to running just melt away.   And I knew that once I felt like I was ready to try again that I’d be physically stronger and mentally ready.

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This time, I’m calm and relaxed as I run.  I’m in tune with how my body feels with each step.  I walk 4 minutes and run 1 minute over and over until I complete one mile, and I’m totally okay with the fact that I’m going so slow and so short of a distance.  It feels amazing to run pain free and those 3 short minutes that I’m running make me feel hopeful, happy, and alive.  My goals aren’t to get back to running like I was before – it’s just simply to run, no matter what speed or what distance I’m able to go, because it makes me so happy.  My definition of running may have changed a lot in the last 9 months, but I’m totally fine with that.  Running isn’t defined by your speed or how often you do it or how far you can run in one day.  It’s defined by the anticipation you get when putting on your running shoes.  It’s defined by the happiness that you have as you run down a trail through the woods before heading off to work.  It’s defined by the feeling of completeness you get as you finish running and stop to stretch in the sunshine.  It’s defined by the ability to say “I ran today” all day long.  Running has a new definition for me, and I love it!

What’s your definition of running?  Has your definition changed over time?

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14 thoughts on “My New Definition of Running

  1. Thats an awesome way to look at running and life. I guess we need to remember that our goals are self imposed at the end of the day! Will remember your words when I take my first tentative steps after injury 🙂

    1. Thank you! Yes, I realized that I was the one putting so much pressure on myself to feel better sooner and to run longer and faster so I could keep up with everyone else. Now I’m just happy to run even for a few seconds! It would drive other runners crazy I’m sure, but it’s enough to make me happy!

    1. Thank you! Who knows how long it will take to get me back to “normal” (which was being able to run 3 miles a few times a week without stopping in the 9 or 10 minute mile range), but I’m fine with being where I am now for a really long time!

  2. I think you are on the right track. Be patient, take it slow. In a year from now you’ll be amazed how far you’ve progressed. It’s always best to think in the long term. Keep at it!

    1. Thank you! I really hope you’re right about the year thing. A year ago today I was training for my 6th half marathon and just starting to feel the occasional SI joint pain that I’ve got full blown now. I know it took 9 months of recovery to get me here, so I hope this is the turning point and I’ll be running pain free next year!

  3. I remember how excited about running your were when we did our month of training. I am so glad that you are feeling even stronger and more ready now!

  4. I definitely need to redefine running right now. I’ve struggled some the last few months with finish times and how I’ve felt during a run (burnout, maybe?) Anyway, I love to run, but I also feel like it needs to “look” a certain way, so I’m trying to redefine it and find the joy rather than the expectation in my running.

    1. Oh I’ve totally been there. I always had to take a break from constantly training in order to find the love for running again. Of course once I’m loving it again I feel the need to sign up for all the races… 🙂

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