Posted by: thehungryrunner | June 4, 2009

The balance between “freestyle” running and running with a mission

I am forever amazed at the balance I seem to need between having concrete, push-the-envelope running goals — races, new distances, new improvements in my speed, my form, etc. — and staying connected with a routine of running that retains a certain spontaneity and detachment from such lofty pursuits.  Since my prevailing motivation to run has more to do with loving to move and staying fit and active than it does achieving athletic greatness (“greatness” in my case is never going to be more than middle-of-the-pack stats by most standards), it’s important that I not let myself get caught up in the frenzy of “More!!!  Better!!!”  Don’t get me wrong; it’s wonderful to go through that process of stretching myself, of going from “I could never do that” to “Well….maybe?” to “I’m going to try!” and then creating a plan, putting myself through my paces…..and actually hitting that goal.  Satisfaction of the highest order!  But staying too focused on that seems to remove me from the mindset that is simply happy to be able to go out and run for 75 minutes, at an easy pace, and clear my head.  When I’m too caught up in Goals (capital G) I tend to feel as though each run must serve a specific purpose, beyond staying fit, healthy, active and happy.  On the other hand, too much freedom and I definitely can fall into too much of a comfortable pattern, which isn’t nearly as fulfilling as it would seem to be when I’m in the final stages of race prep and I’m longing for the “easy, unstructured days.”

So there it is.  Today’s run will be freestyle. Saturday, my first long run of over 10 miles since my half marathon (because of course I must run another one to improve my speed!).  All good, all essential in what it gives me.


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