When it comes to running, I’m a bit of a geek. I read every scrap of information on training methods, make meticulous schedules, keep track of my mileage by GPS, and every run is planned. In many ways this is a good thing, and it certainly helps me feel prepared for races. However, sometimes it’s easy to lose track of the fact running is just a hobby and get so wrapped up in my training program, that it all becomes a bit stressful.
The past month has been very much like this for me. After returning from three months of travelling, I was desperate to get back any fitness I’d lost and start training for some spring races. So it was straight into a new program, filled with specific runs on specific days, which meant a lot of running alone. It was all good training, but not always very enjoyable.
This week, I needed a change. My motivation levels were flagging, and the prospect of plodding out all of my running alone wasn’t looking too exciting. Luckily, my schedule allowed me a few opportunities to run in the morning, which meant I could join the running buddies I hadn’t seen in months. As it had been so long since we last ran together, I had forgotten how much fun it is running with company. Not only does time pass by much quicker while you chat, I find it’s also easier to stick to your intended route when you have some support and encouragement to get you up that hill or through a period of low energy, when otherwise you might slow down or take a short-cut. I was also reminded that sometimes it’s great to just go out running, with no plan, no gadgets and some good company. Running as fast or slow as you like and stopping when you’re done. After all, for recreational runners like myself, running is meant to relieve the stress of work and life, not create more of it!