Motivation Monday: The “run happy” edition

I never thought I’d be one of those runners who obsesses about split times and speedwork and PRs. In my short high school cross-country career, I was never fast enough to really give that stuff much thought. Swimming provided my competitive fix, and even after I graduated high school and quit swimming, I was happy to keep my running in slow-and-steady mode.

Then, I started running longer distances, and simply running a 5K or 10K wasn’t enough. I had to run them faster than I’d run before, and the need for (relative) speed started to seep into the longer races, too. This can be exhilarating β€” the transformative power of the clock can make us realize that if we can run a half-marathon faster than we imagined we could previously, we can do just about anything we put our minds to.

But right now, I need to do the opposite, and my motivation this week comes from easing up on the pre-run pressure. I am pulling back from time goals, and trying to go back to a time when running was more about the joy of motion. I am running how I feel, and marveling that “running how I feel” often yields the same pace as when I’m consciously pushing it.

Here’s what else is motivating me this week:

Brooks’ Run Happy ad campaign fits perfectly into my new, chilled-out approach.

The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Turkey Trot 10K on Thanksgiving morning does, too. Is it possible to take yourself too seriously when the word “trot” is involved?

A runner-friendly Thanksgiving later that day. My contributions to dinner: a roasted turkey breast, sweet-potato stuffing (made with whole-grain bread), lemon-orange cranberry sauce, roasted butternut squash and a harvest salad with pears, dried cranberries, and blue cheese. And a pumpkin pie. All homemade, mostly from goodies procured at the farmers market. Since I enjoy the cooking, I’m deeply excited about this (recipes to follow …). Looking for Thanksgiving inspiration? Check out Deena Kastor’s Thanksgiving recipes here. (Thanks to Heather, a runner and nutritionist, for pointing them out!)

Our amazing trip yesterday to Sugarloaf Mountain, a lovely landmark less than an hour from our apartment in Silver Spring, Md. If there is a better way to spend a sunny fall Sunday than by running up and down a mountain a couple times (literally, a couple β€” it was so much fun, we ran the paved part twice!), then hitting up the vineyard at the bottom of the mountain for a wine tasting, I’m not sure what it is.

Post-run wine tasting.

Finally, I’m motivated by all my friends who ran the Philadelphia Marathon over the weekend. Marci and Jenn in particular ran gutsy races that had nothing to do with the transformative power of the clock, and everything to do with the power of finding out who you are as a human being.

What’s motivating you this week?


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10 responses to “Motivation Monday: The “run happy” edition

  1. KateKirk

    post-marathon, this has been my approach too. What I am finding with “run how you feel” is that since I’m not at the same level of mileage, I go out with blazing speed, thinking I’m running easy, and then slow dramatically as I tire. I was reading an article from McMillan about getting your internal GPS set/reset, and think that would be good for me. But in any case, I’m enjoying my runs and looking forward to Thursday’s Arlington Turkey Trot…5k not quite enough to neutralize all the crap I’ll be eating, but oh well.

  2. Great plan, getting back to the fun of running while you heal. Once you’re a little more stable, come run in Rock Creek Park sometime with us! Pure joy.

  3. i love running just for running sake!!! Running makes me happy!! So glad it makes others happy too!!

  4. Alexis

    Well, I can’t relate to your pacing, because I’m really slow (although thinking about working on the pace thing now that I’ve got the endurance thing down).

    Anyway, thank you for making an effort make Thanksgiving dinner healthy!!!! Next year, can I eat with you? I still do not get why we have to dedicate the whole day to eating? BTW – the salad you’re making is one of my absolute favorite combos!

    Have fun “trottin” on Thursday πŸ™‚

  5. JT

    Running for the joy of it is the best! I am hoping I can mentally take it easy on myself after Surf City — I totally hear ya on the time goals — can’t wait till that race is over with!

    Have fun on Turkey Day!

  6. i recently had this same train of thought – lighten up on the pressure and keep it fun! run hard and allow yourself “other” goals in races like consistent splits, or practicing your threshold/tempo pace, or even just having fun with friends. obviously, it’s been much less stressful to keep the fun in running πŸ™‚

    good luck in your turkey trot and have a great thanksgiving holiday!

  7. run happy? are you nuts? actually i totally completely get what you’re saying. could be because i just finished my first marathon about 6 wks ago. after training 20 wks, i was so ready to just stop having a run goal. just to relax and run. it helps that my garmin died 7 wks ago and i haven’t gotten around to getting it fixed.

    the other thing i find myself doing is hitting the trails and country roads. fall has been incredibly mild and so i’m taking advantage of the beautiful paths and just running to time. its been a heavenly way to recharge my love for running.

  8. trialsoftraining

    Running + wine And hills? I agree, that sounds like a great weekend activity! Especially with the weather we had on Sunday – wow, DC. Loved it.

    You’re going to be BUSY in that kitchen on Thursday!! Glad you liked the recipes from Deena, hopefully they’re tasty πŸ˜‰

  9. Sarah H.

    Mmmmm, I want your sweet potato stuffing recipe…sounds so yummy!!! I would suggest a good, French red wine will pair perfectly with your dinner Thursday : )

    Love you and miss you guys!

  10. Pingback: Carrot and stick, part deux « Amy Reinink

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