Running Intuitively

I fucking love running.

Sorry Ma, sometimes you need an F bomb for emphasis.

Really though, I love to run. So much so that when I got injured a few years ago and couldn’t do it for three months, I kind of fell apart. Well meaning people would tell me to jump on the elliptical or try cycling. I didn’t want to hear it. No matter how hard I work on those fancy machines it’s not hard enough. And I feel cramped on a bike–it’s just not how I prefer to move.

Since being back from that injury and learning how to better maintain my body, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to run a few half marathons, one full, and several 5 and 10ks. I like racing, but I’m not obsessed with it. At times this fact has made me feel like an outsider in the blogosphere and on Instagram. (But I’ve gotten over that ;)) A lot of the runners I follow post their stats of one accomplishment and in the next breath reveal their training plan for a subsequent feat. It’s inspiring. I actually really enjoy it. I think I love running just as much as they do. I just also love a lot of other things that I wouldn’t have space for if I always put mileage at the forefront.

As a lot of you know, I’ve been putting a lot of emphasis on living in the present lately. Pretty early on I realized that this more mindful way of living needed to be applied to every aspect of my life if I truly wanted the effects of it to take hold. It wasn’t enough to just use it at work where I compartmentalize tasks and work on the next most important thing to avoid getting overwhelmed. I couldn’t only apply it to not obsessing over future problems–ones that get manufactured between my two ears but may never exist in real life. No, if I really wanted mindfulness to penetrate my life, it would have to touch everything–including my fitness.

I’ve got a 10k in October. It’s the same course as the 10k I ran in June where I very narrowly missed my goal. Instinctively the planner in me thought, why not try a 10k training plan for the first time? Something specifically designed to shave some time off.

Yes, that’s what I would do. I’d print it out, post it up on the fridge, mark off the days. (Old school girl here). I’d tell myself and you guys it was okay (but secretly be upset) when I fell short on a workout. I’d wake up every morning knowing (and sometimes dreading) exactly what mileage was in store for that day. It would grand.

Here’s the thing–diving into a training plan right now feels grossly antithetical to the lifestyle I’m trying to develop. This is not me trying to be a free spirit. It’s an attempt to really capture and experience a full awareness of my existence. There are holes in my memory. Little chunks of my timeline that escape me for only one reason: I was preoccupied with what was coming next. I was so blinded by the anticipation of my future that I barely glanced at whatever was right in front of me. That’s not what I want anymore.

All this is not to say that I don’t or won’t have goals. It’s more daring to question the assumption that every goal needs a carefully constructed and well thought out plan. What if I could just run and develop my fitness intuitively?

I want to average under a 9 minute mile for this 10k. My aim is to ask myself each night what I want to do for a workout in the morning. Do I want to lift and run? Just lift? Just run? What type of run? Go to yoga? Stretch and rest? Upon waking in the morning, I’ll ask myself again if what I felt the night before still feels like the best plan. If it does, I go ahead with it. If it doesn’t, I make a change. I’ve done this for the past two weeks. These are some of the things that have happened:

  • I’ve cross trained on the stair climber instead of doing my interval run. It was hard. I liked it. All day at work afterward I could tell I had woken up some new muscles. Ten minutes on this machine after lifting was tough. I’m now motivated to build up to fifteen.
  • I’ve rested two days in a row. I never do that. The neurotic voice in my head kept telling me something really bad might happen if I did. This time I decided to listen to the calm rational voice that told me that my body had not fully recovered from the five hard days in a row I worked out, and that I would be best served and bounce back stronger if I took an additional rest day. I felt rejuvenated and ready to go after. And also, I didn’t die–or gain ten pounds.
  • I’ve made a point of spending quality time every day on stretching and foam rolling–even extra minutes on days I am resting. The results have felt dramatic. How had I never thought to stretch (like really stretch, not just for two seconds) on my rest days? It makes a huge difference in how I feel throughout the entire day. Bonus: with the consistent foam rolling, my plantar fasciitis hasn’t bothered me in weeks.

Here’s my thought process (I am fully aware this would not work for everyone) : I work hard. I always do. I push myself. A training plan isn’t what makes me disciplined. I am what makes me disciplined. The most confusing sight I witness semi-regularly is a human walking so slowly on a treadmill or riding so nonchalantly on a bike that they can browse their social media at the same time. I don’t understand that. I push myself when I run and when I lift and when I do yoga because I get something out of it. I get physical relief and mental clarity. My attitude and outlook upon life becomes more positive. I believe in things. I believe in myself.

I don’t get any of that if I don’t stretch myself beyond what’s comfortable. So that’s what I do, and what I have been doing for years and years.

That’s why it didn’t seem too far out there to me to think that I might be able to set an intention (my 10k goal) and trust that my body, working intuitively with my mind, could get me there.

I know all the workouts–tempos, intervals, hill repeats, the long slow run. I know the science (science, logic?) behind all of them and why the experts generally believe you need a combination of them to improve your performance. I’ll be mixing it up and using all these, and everything I’ve learned from other training blocks. I know that my body has a feeling for what the goal is. I can feel it changing gears, pushing through routine, and reaching for a new level of discomfort.

What I’ve realized is that my body is talking all the time–it’s telling me what it needs and wants. The more often I can be patient and listen, and give it what it’s asking for, the more it trusts me. We start to build a bond and it rides in tune with my heart; it understands my goals and the path I want to be on and it shows me the best way that we can get there. I don’t need to force it into submission. And it doesn’t need to break down to stop me from taking it too far. Day by day, we are building more trust, more care, and more synchronicity.

Or maybe we’re not and this is all bullshit and I’ll “fail” or get injured and go back to rigorous training plans. We shall see.

In the meantime, I’m gonna keep basking in the glow of having not dreaded a workout in two weeks. I haven’t done anything I haven’t wanted to do. And I’ve busted my ass and had some of the most amazing runs and yoga classes. Something feels right here. So I’m gonna keep on following it, one day at a time.

 

What do you think? Have you ever tried to run or work out intuitively? How did it go?

Come on speak up out there–I know some of you think I am crazy–that this is kooky talk. I wanna hear from you regimented guys and gals as well! 

What is your relationship like with your body right now? Has it changed over the years? Do you feel like you are on the same page with it, or is there a lot of pushing and pulling? If you could, is there something you would change about the relationship you have with your body now?

 

 

 

I’m so glad we’ve found each other here, let’s connect on Instagram  as well! I blog once or twice a week but I’m up and “running” 😉 there daily. Please come find me! x

 

header image: joao ferreira

54 thoughts on “Running Intuitively

  1. Me haces reír mucho con tus historias y como las cuentas. 🌺

    Yo necesito planificar mis entrenos. Si no, me digo que “instintivamente” lo mejor es quedarse tumbada en el sofá todo el día jajaja
    Pero intento no ser rígida en mi planificación. Si surge otro plan, cena con amigos, o lo que sea, veo como cambiar mi entreno para otro momento u otro día. Lo que cuenta es que a final de la semana haya hecho lo que tenía pensado.
    No soy de competir para NADA. No me sirve como inspiración. Si es un area que puedo  (¿necesito?) trabajar. Pero mas importante es que estos últimos 4 meses he entendido que necesito el ejercicio no sólo para mantenerme en forma físicamente, pero aún más para mantener mi mente equilibrada. ¡Es esencial! Con esa realización viene una gran motivación.
    Mi relación con mi cuerpo va mejorando poco a poco. En parte por que estoy haciendo ejercicio pero mucho más por trabajar en como me hablo/miro/trato. (Los 12 pasos.) Me he dado permiso de quererme a mi misma… hay días que más, hay días que menos. Pero todos los días agradezco lo que hace mi cuerpo, lo que aguanta y lo que me enseña. Especialmente lo que me deja comer jajaja

    ¡Eres una gran inspiración para mi! Gracias por compartir tan sinceramente tus experiencias. Un abrazo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post.

    I’m very organized, but also intrinsically motivated. I go rollerblading with a friend on Monday and I play tennis with another friend on Thursday and either Saturday or Sunday. But I don’t plan my runs. I will think the day before “I hope I’ll be able to go for a run tomorrow”. But I often decide the speed and distance about 1km into the run.
    On Friday I kept changing my mind about going 8km or 10km after being out with the flu for a week so often that when I got to the point where I have to go left for 10km or right for 8km I couldn’t remember what I decided. I went left.

    I also had to learn to listen to my body and sometimes rest when I would like to run or go slower or shorter than I would perhaps like. Listening to my body always pays off.

    Oh and the best runs are the ones with no expectations, when I think before I leave that I will take it easy and just run because I love to run. If I can keep thinking that during the run it’s generally a great run in multiple ways!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Mirjam! I love the variety of your schedule–sounds like you get some really good cross training in–I could use more of that!
      I also love how you couldn’t remember which distance you had decided on–talk about living in the moment! I love it!

      It’s funny, listening to my body is really going great, but i think i need to take a cue from your book and also release expectations. Not to say I am not going to keep my goal for my race, but idk, more and more i am feeling like i just have to see how things go each day. It will be interesting to see where that leads me!
      So glad to connect with you on IG as well now Mirjam ;). Always great to hear from you!! x

      Like

  3. First, your apology to your mom about using the F Bomb had me cracking up. I can’t tell you how many times my own mother has called me after reading a blog and said, “Did you REALLY have yo use the F word?” haha!

    Second, I love this concept of living in the moment and having a plan, but then being flexible with that plan. It is something I am working on constantly. I used to have to excessively work out minimum 5 days a week, or I would feel sooo guilty. But with life being so busy sometimes a work out would keep me from other things that were equally important, like writing, or reading a book. For example, I was going to work out today if I had time before I go to work this evening but my priority was first finishing a writing deadline, which I did. So tomorrow my priority will be gym first. I’ve had to learn that this every other day thing has to work for me or I will never get anything done (even if my ass does look amazing.)

    Lastly, the FOAM ROLLER! Thank you for reminding me. I have one but have been neglecting it lately. But it helps everything! I was in physical therapy for my lower back for a year when I finally tried a foam roller. Rolling out my hips and legs helped my back, and rolling out my back was heaven.

    Thank you for reminding this future obsessed girl to stay in the present today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. Hey girl, so good to hear from you! So funny about our moms. My mom has actually been good–she hasn’t bugged me about swearing for a long time–but i know she still thinks about it! I try to tell her it’s just a part of who I am, lol.
      I am sooo right there with you on everything you are saying–especially the idea that we only have so much energy, so we’ve got to decide what is most important to us, prioritize and be flexible in the moment. For me it helps too if I don’t create chaos or catastrophize a situation. The gym will be there tomorrow–I’m not losing my fitness if god forbid i skip a day! Oy, my mind sometimes!
      And yes, girl, get on that foam roller! It’s such an easy one to avoid cause it fucking hurts so much and you have to get on the ground and all that. But it makes such a huge difference, it’s crazy!
      From one future obsessed girl to another, have a great Monday! x

      Like

  4. nice post, Cat. I have to agree, I used to be a discliplined lan follower for a long time, but after several back-to-back injuries and stressful life developments, I ended up with the, what I called, “whatever works” method. I ran whatever I could whenever I felt up to it and at whatever speed my body felt like on that day. It turned out that my body had a pattern of short runs, longer fast runs, a middle-length slow run and a when I had the time there was always room for a longer run. This worked well for me for the off-season. However, I noticed that to get faster and train for a race, I do need the regimen of a plan and something-one that tells me what to do, otherwise I tend to not push myself as hard as I should. No matter what, listening to the body is the best one can do for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dorothea! I was just thinking of you the other day–I’ve missed you! Hope all is well.
      I love hearing about the natural pattern your body seemed to have. I feel like that is what is happening with me as well and it feels good–very natural.
      You may be right that to get faster I need an actual regimen. We shall see! I like the experimentation–and I agree, listening to our bodies is never the wrong way!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am a boring automatron. Must run. Must workout. I have no possibility of intuitive workout. You are obviously an enjoyable person with the ability to live in the moment. Better than being an automatron. Long live spontaneity.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You have a great plan thats working for you to get to your goals. Ive learned with aging that listening to my body has to come before goals, otherwise I get discouraged when my body won’t let me do what I have planned in my head. I love that your training plan involves more than just the time and the miles, but strength training and also the stretching and flexibility you get with your yoga practice. I miss running but I get my cardio on the elliptical machine and its fine. I sometimes close my eyes and imagine I am in my 20’s again, running along my old 14 mile route in Key West. Keep up the great work Cat. You’ve got this! Your October race will be here before you know it and you will do great, whether you beat your time or not (but you will) you still win because you are doing what you love. Run girl run!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that is such wise advice Maggie, that listening to our bodies has to come before goals. I honestly think that is true for any age–though a lot of us choose to abuse our bodies and push them when we are young. I think my hope now is that my goals will become aligned with what my body naturally wants. Not sure if that even makes sense to anyone but me!
      14 miles in Key West! Running in the heat–girl after my own heart ;). I love it.
      You’re right–whether i meet the goal or not, this experience and the ability to run is a win, I am so grateful for it! Thanks Maggie! x

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I used to be a workout monster but my body has betrayed me, heart problem, but that’s ok, developing a new relationship with my dad bod, it’s all good, but I still have dreams of running, its weird and cool in a way, so theoretically, I still run, but only in my dreams. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Finding a new relationship with my dad bod.” I freakin’ love that. I think that’s life! Living is aging–I hope I can adjust as gracefully as I can as time goes by. I know it’s not easy.
      I am sorry about your heart problem–but glad you seem to be finding your way. I run in my dreams too–always a runner ;).

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been pretty serious about running, mostly solo, for a little more than five years. I cycle and swim with people who are much more structured in their workouts than I. Last year I followed a training plan for the first time. It was my ninth half-marathon and I followed the plan very closely. It did lead me to the PR I was chasing. However, since then, I have fallen back into my intuitive style which is easier and less stressful. I’m having a good ‘season’ right now but will be deciding shortly if I will pull out the 12-week training plan for the longer distances of winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like you have a really good balance Denny, I like that you have tried more and less structure and are flexible depending on your needs. I also think it’s cool that you cycle and swim with people who are more structured than you–prob gives you a good idea on what you want to do for yourself and what feels like too stressful!

      Like

  9. drnjbmd

    I tend to push myself to the point of adding stress to my running. What I learned from a friend who is a former world-class marathoner, is that I need to step back and enjoy my running rather than making my running more work. I don’t need more work (I am a surgeon) but I too, feel the need to drop an F-bomb at times. My next race is a September marathon that I have set the goal of finishing strong only. I can’t add to my pressure cooker life anymore. Running keeps me disciplined (working well now), healthy (resting heart rate in the 40s) and serene. I am faster and stronger; that has to be enough now. I am also running my next race in honor of my late father. I hope he would be proud of me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this Doc! What you are saying makes SO much sense to me. Running is part of what makes me happy–it is a huge release. If it’s ADDING stress to my life then I definitely have to reevaluate!
      I don’t know much about heart rate but it has been something i have started to pay a little more attention to. Mostly just trying to stay in the lower zone (as measured by my garmin) as I get faster (so hopefully improving my fitness). Running with my hubs helps a lot with this–chatting is useful!
      Also, really lovely that you are running your next race for your dad. I imagine he would be very proud! x

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Your plan to not plan can work. Some people need the structure and concrete goals/milestones. Running is tricky, since you can kinda sorta give a good effort without digging deep. If you have the right personality type and attitude, I think you can meet your goal without sacrificing your current direction. I say go for it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Randy–I feel a little more confident now with your seal of approval!
      And yeah, running is weird in that way cause you can putz around and not give much of an effort, but still get more of a workout than you would doing a lot of other things! (part of why i love it prob!)
      I will of course let you know how it goes–hope I can still reach that goal!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”: Once you have mastered the science / logic of the different workouts and how a plan hangs together (even if you create this plan day by day and don’t call it a plan!) and have built that relationship with your body where you can hear what it is telling you, I absolutely get how you can train intuitively and I think it’s a really good way to go – I’m certain it will work out for you (remember the hills this time though! 😉 )
    I like to see things on paper, so while I usually come up with my own plans as well, I tend to stick them in a spreadsheet so I make sure they are properly balanced (e.g. my mistake in the past was that I would push myself on every single run and lost much of the intensity balance but also enjoyment of running). But even if daily / weekly routine isn’t created intuitively, each run has certainly become much more so and with less gps-watching.
    In terms of relationship with my body? Long story, but I feel I am reasonably in sync with it… I’d like it a bit lighter and faster, but that’s not new!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah! I freakin’ love that quote, I have never heard that before! Makes a lot of sense to me and I think is really what I am trying to do. Obviously I wouldn’t say I have really “mastered” anything, but I do think I am continuing to improve my grasp on how the different things fit together. Since I have been working on speed and shorter distances, I hadn’t really been doing a long slow run. However now that my hubs has Sundays off, we have gone together the past few weekends. It’s been great, and I can totally see how it is giving me something different and is probably helping me even though my goal is “shorter and faster.” I think blogging has really helped me grow in terms of the amount of research I do and knowledge i am anxious to gain about running. You guys are curious and it’s made me curious as well–it’s fun to learn and improve!

      Your point about the mistake of pushing on every single run–I think I connect that to the Sunday long runs with my hubs too. it’s been great to just have a chat with him–push each other at points if we want to, but otherwise just be out there to move with each other. It’s kind of like if you were cooking something and you want it to have a nice spicy flavor. It doesn’t mean that you would add heat to EVERY single component of the dish. Some things would be more subtle, some would be salty, some ingredients would add brightness. You need all different components for the right flavor to come together in the end. I don’t know if you cook–sorry if that metaphor is a bit ridiculous, LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do cook (a bit) and love the metaphor! Which also works with what you are doing: When you start cooking you follow recipes religiously, while as you learn more about the various ingredients, dishes and what works for you, you end up creating your own recipes / “throwing some stuff together” much more. Which brings up back to your post! 🙂
        Two of my favourite workouts for you:
        1. a nice, slow, gentle mid-week run of about an hour through the countryside by the canal. Fills your batteries, and does wonders mentally (teaching the body that not every time you put trainers on you will hurt!)

        2. Progression LR: first third really slow (recovery run pace), middle third steady / comfortable pace, final third between half and full marathon pace. Or LR with race pace intervals (adjust work / recovery time by the race you are training for).
        I find they work wonders even for “shorter” races, you will feel much stronger at the end of a 10k if you have trained to run at pace after 20!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I love that you took my metaphor and expanded it, so great. I am going to try and take your advice on these types of runs. Although I will probably only do one of them a week. I am only spending an hour or more on runs once a week these days!
        Thanks Leonard!

        Like

  12. I love reading your running posts because I feel like there’s so much I agree with. I do occasional races, but I don’t find it a necessity to race, but yet I also love running. I followed training plans for 5k to half marathon to 25k, but only ones that just had mileage listed for the day, because I knew if it was too regimented (like 6 x 1 M repeats) I wouldn’t do it, but yet at the same time I wanted some type of guideline because each race was my first attempt at that distance. I haven’t done a time based/time goal plan yet though. I also do not understand that nonchalant walking on the treadmill. What I’m confused by is the readers, the walkers that either lay a book out in front of them or hold it up in front of their face as walking. I don’t get how you can focus on the words as you’re moving…but I guess if you’re going slow enough? And holding it in front of you? If I did that, my focus would be on the book, and not where I’m placing my feet, and I’d be tripping, on my belly, and shooting off the back end. As for your questions, running intuitively. Kind of what I’m doing now with Amerithon, my current challenge. Get up, go, and do what I feel like. I feel like my focus is more on my surroundings, the woods, sounds, fresh air, but still getting the mileage done. I still have incorporated intervals (October 5k coming up. I got goal of under 30 with this one last year. Goal this year is 28 so intervals are for race-specific.) And do hill repeats once a week, to help with trail running. Maybe there’s a way to incorporate both intuitively and types of runs for you? I tend to go “in” when I run, because focused on mileage or whatnot, but with Amerithon/intuitively, I feel like I’m coming more “out,” as in more focused on my surroundings, notice the smaller things that I didn’t notice before even though I might have run the trail 10x before, more attention to running partner and how they’re doing, stuff like that. Good luck on your living in the present and 10k goal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can give some insight into the readers – I don’t run on a treadmill because I injured myself switching between the two. a) it’s boring and b) I walk smoothly enough I can read. And I have had times when I’ve been in rehab (once during medical treatment, once after an operation) when if I can get out there and move and read, I’ll do that, so I try to think people doing this are maybe having that issue. Having said that, it’s MUCH more comfortable to read on a recumbent bike and I can get LOADS done that way with both the book and my exercise!!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hey C! Always great to find people who can relate!
      It’s funny, I kind of admire people who don’t put much of an emphasis on time–but I will never totally be one! I think a lot of races I say that I’m just running for fun, but there’s usually a number I am gunning for somewhere in my head! I wonder if you started setting a lot of time goals if it would enhance or diminish your love for running? Interestingly I think it can do different things for different people. Interested to see how this 5k goes for you in October. I think intervals are a great way to get closer to a time goal. I also love them because you can really push your limits since you only have to hold that speed for such a short amount of time. I have a much harder time with tempos–although when I can commit to doing them, I do really think they help me, especially with being able to get my heart rate down and steady my breath at a faster pace.
      I also really like what you are doing now with your current challenge and how much you are concentrating on your surroundings. I feel like I actually did that a lot when I was marathon training–I fell even more in love with NYC!
      Thanks for this C, and good luck with your challenge and your goal for October! x

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Cat, this sounds like a good plan. I actually moved to not following a plan a while ago and have naturally gotten faster and been able to run longer just be doing what felt right that day. Of course, I didn’t have a timeline though. I hope this works well for you. I think listening to our bodies is something most people have quit doing in our world of multitasking and busyness

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah AJ I am so glad to hear that this has worked for someone, you have given me hope that i can get faster this way! As far as a timeline–the race is in October but I am not seeing it as a finish line, I think I will just keep going ;).
      I think you make such a good point about the multitasking. I think the biggest realization for me came when I was in yoga and I realized that I literally used classes to plan out my entire week and work through “problems” in my head. I was giving almost real attention to what was happening in my body–really i was depriving it of so much!
      Really great stuff AJ–thanks for adding your thoughts! x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s been my goal to slow down this summer. The place I have seen the most improvement is when I’m driving. I’m no longer impatient or irritated as much as I will get there when I get there:)
        It really does calm the mind and the body to just concentrate on one thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Great plan Cat! No matter what I plan to do, I end up speed walking. I enjoy it so much. The one thing I’ve done since grade school. I feel invigorated after 45 min. Iike your stretching plan. Have been doing that every morning before work and the sense of well being is a good send off. I do not feel pressure, just do it! Really like the phrase:”…is it a real problem, or one made between my ears!” I’ll be asking myself that from now on! You keep inspiring ME! Thanks!🙋‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh that’s so great Pat that you are enjoying the speed walking so much! It’s so amazing to have something that gives you energy even after your working hard and giving a big effort. I can imagine how much more clear headed you feel going into work after that!
      Oh and yes–many problems have lived between my two ears but never actually existed in real life. Working on quieting that nagging voice every day!
      Thanks Pat!

      Like

  15. Yes, girl. It only works for some people, though. Many prefer a training plan. I have been doing fine without one and listening to my body. I seriously have gotten FLACK from people on both sides of the coin. Some people think ALL running should be free from goals or competitiveness. Some think you aren’t a ‘real’ runner unless you do this pace and mileage. I consider myself a lover of movement of all kinds! I love hiking and running fast and roads and trails and climbing mountains. Have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You bring up such a good point PK–we all need to just accept what works for each individual person. We’ve all got our similarities and our differences! I guess I am in the middle on this one–I’m not a “free from goals” runner and I’m not a measure EVERYTHING runner either! I’m a one day at a time runner and as you say MOVER ;).
      Have a fantastic day lady! x

      Like

  16. I find I really need a training plan and a goal to work toward, because I’m not one of those people who intuitively gravitates toward exercise. I didn’t grow up with it as a part of my daily lifestyle, so without some kind of reminder or incentive, I’m probably not going to do it, and without a plan or goal, it’s too easy for me to find excuses not to get out there each day. I’m one of those people who thrives on structure – I like the idea of being free-spirited and flying by the seat of my pants but in reality I just can’t get a lot done that way. Plus, I just really enjoy checking things off and watching myself steadily build up to something. Plans and lists and specific goals can easily become constricting and rigid, but some of us derive a lot of energy from the process of working toward a goal in a structured manner.

    I think we all just have to ignore what’s on social media and do what works best for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh social media is not so bad ;). I think it’s interesting to see the different things people do, I don’t really feel any pressure. Perhaps for me it helps that I’ve never been very fast. While I work very hard and know that I can improve, I know that my best is some people’s “easy” pace. I figure that’s the way life is though right? I think I’ve been getting better at shutting off the IG when I stop feeling inspired and start feeling envious or icky!

      I really understand the part you mention about not growing up with exercise as part of your daily lifestyle. Day after day I realize how much having two active parents who worked out ALL the time shaped who I am now and what I think is “normal”. They are now in their sixties and seventies. My mom still swims almost every day and my dad bikes (used to be a runner!). I’ve got a lot of friends who didn’t grow up that way and they’ve told me they’ve found it really tough to push themselves and maintain a consistently active lifestyle.
      I thrive on structure too–I am right there with you. This is not so much me trying to be a free spirit–it’s actually more about me pushing myself, if you can believe it. I often get very set in my ways. I am who i am and everything needs a plan and I follow the steps and that’s how i like to live. Trying to live more in the present is me stretching myself–believing that I can be more than one way. Not that I am rejecting who I am–i want to embrace that, but also feel around in that space of discomfort and see if there is something for me there (there usually is, and I’m greedy, so I guess I’m trying to go discover whatever that is!).
      Lastly–love how you put that “some of us derive a lot of energy from the process of working toward a goal in a structured manner”. Couldn’t agree more! Structure has been so good for my life as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m sure you’ve gathered from my blogs and comments that I’m not a “follow the training plan” type of runner. Beyond gradually adding mileage when training for half marathons (I won’t increase the long run by more than 2 miles a week max) and making sure I run at least 3 times a week everything else tends to be based on what I’m feeling. Originally I was going to lift yesterday. When I got home from taking care of my parents’ cat (they’re on vacation) I was like no, I’m going to try out the yoga workout Jason’s been doing for his hips. It was a better option as I enjoyed it and now I’m more in the mood today for a strength type workout. I’ve gained 2 pounds of muscle in my legs since last summer and ran the fastest 5k in July that I’ve ran in years so I think I’m doing something right? Or at least something that works for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey girl! Yes, I have always appreciated that you are more of a run by feel runner–and a really good one at that. I’ve always admired your level approach!
      So relate to you switching up what you were going to do for your workout and then getting in the mood for the strength training the next day. That’s maybe what I have been loving most. When I don’t force myself to do something my body doesn’t seem to be feeling, often the next day it is begging for it! Makes the activity so much more enjoyable i think, and I imagine I get a much better workout!
      Also, SO awesome about that leg muscle–definitely doing something right!!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I find that it is hard for me to run without a goal in mind, eg full or half marathon. I am noticing that I am a little more dedicated to training for the upcoming nyc marathon (even though I skipped yesterday’s run).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you are definitely not alone Kwame, a lot of people like to have something they are looking forward to. Trying to run this way is definitely new for me–we will see how it works out!
      I can definitely tell from your posts that you are more dedicated to this marathon–can’t wait to see how it all comes together for you!!

      Like

  19. I think this is brilliant. And I’m the other person who doesn’t race all the time, and that’s why I started blogging about my running the other week, to share that there is another way to run. Running’s too important to me to ruin it.

    I have a basic model where I want to run around 20-30 miles a week and do two hours of yoga, plus something else. And I fit stuff in around that, so I tend to do club run on a Tuesday which will give me around 5.5 miles, so I know then I want to do at least 4.5 and then 10 at the weekend. Unlike you, I don’t always get joy from pushing myself. In fact I need to NOT push myself for at least 2/3 of my runs. If I want to, I do, for example on Saturday when I had the chance of a few cheeky miles and went a bit harder on the way home. But not training for anything specific lets me just use running for mindfulness and enjoyment or catching up with a friend or helping a friend achieve what they want to achieve. That’s the way I like to live my life, and I salute anyone who uses running as part of how they like to live their life, however that is, rather than letting it rule their life. If that makes sense.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is so funny Liz–I know you are very intuitive with your running but for some reason I think of you as someone who races a lot! Maybe it’s just your enthusiasm for running in general (it’s race day like ;))
      I really like your model–you aim for a certain amount of mileage but don’t have a set way you need to get it done. Always awesome that you are so often able to include other people as well. You seem to have a strong sense of community built around running. I have that for yoga, but not yet for running (not quite looking for it yet ;))
      And yes–makes total sense to me–running as part of how you live your life rather than letting it rule. I often feel a bit badly for anyone who lets any one thing rule–I just always feel like there is so much more to experience. But hey, if they are happy, to each their own, right?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha – no, I hardly race at all. I do like being in a race and shouting out for other people in my club / local clubs but really I feel like running is like when you’ve got that friend and you could go romantic with them but what if it ruins the friendship? Racing is like a romantic relationship: i need running to be my lifelong friend. Does that make sense?

        And the sense of community I think comes from my powerful motivation in my life to help others. I do a lot of volunteering around it and supporting others, because a massive part of my personality and motivation in life is built around this (it’s not necessarily a good thing as such: it comes from feeling I need I have the right to have a place in the world). I do like a solo run but I genuinely love going out with the girls and sorting out the world or supporting someone to run longer than they thought they could.

        I feel a bit jealous when I see people enjoying racing. Being slow doesn’t help with that of course. But I do like that I’m able to keep going without having a race to aim for, as that’s useful.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. I feel the same about running, I missed it so much when I fell pregnant ant and was to big to run. I also believe in listening to your body bad found a combination of run training and yoga really helps when I’m training for an event. The yoga is not only a great stretch post run it helps me mentally too. Good luck for your 10k. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there Mumsey ;). I definitely agree, yoga compliments the running with the stretching aspect but the biggest thing really might be the mental component! I honestly don’t think i could have completed the only marathon I’ve done if didn’t practice yoga consistently. There have been so many times I’ve been in class where things just felt impossible, like I couldn’t go on (I do Bikram (hot yoga)) but I’ve gotten through each and every class for almost ten years now. I bring that tenacity out on the road with me for sure when I run– I need it!
      Thanks so much for your well wishes and for sharing your thoughts–please come back! x

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s