Do you challenge yourself?
Or are you content to run the same route, the same miles, at the same pace, on a regular schedule?
Or do you mix it up?
Or do you mix it up?
No matter how it you slice it, running is, in and of itself, challenging.
There's something to be said for playing it safe. I know that when I want to "just run", I can head out into my neighborhood and run my 5-6 mile loop without even thinking. Don't lie, you've got one too. That route where you can run mindlessly because you know where to turn every step of the way. I know exactly where mile 4 is (at the garden plots in the park) because that's where I stop to take my selfies.
Seriously. Even though it's a run, it's kind of a lazy way to run, really. But we all need days like this because sometimes, just getting out the door is challenging. On those days, it takes just about all the effort we can exert to move those feet. Sometimes it just feels good to just run.
On the other hand, I'm not going to meet any of my goals if I just run easy all the time. Besides not challenging my body, playing it safe, running the same routes, the same distances, at the same paces can get somewhat boring too. When running becomes routine, it can start to become more of a chore. That can be a challenge too, because it's hard to motivate yourself when there's nothing to excite you.
When my boys were little, that's exactly what I did. I ran the same route, 4 days per week. Back then, just getting a run in and done was a challenge. There were plenty of days that I had to push myself to get up and out the door. My husband leaves for work early--sometimes before the sun comes up--and I used to get up at 430am to get 5-6 miles in. It was sometimes scary dark out there, and I'd see coyotes and skunks in my neighborhood. That made me run fast! The roads were all mine, but the few drivers I encountered weren't expecting to see a person running, and I had to watch out for them. I felt like I could never let my guard down, running that early in the morning. Those runs weren't relaxing. The goal for those runs was to get the miles in and get home before my husband left for work.
|An early morning long run, this past winter. Mile 4 at the snow covered garden plots.|
|Especially in the winter.|
A few years ago, one of my cousins, who lives a very pampered life, asked me why I keep pushing myself. She wanted to know why I couldn't just be content with the status quo. My response? Pish posh. I bit back what I really wanted to say. And asked her the question: What fun would that be?
Here's what's fun to me: crossing the finish line of a race that I wanted to quit on and making my goal time. Last week's half marathon? In our new found warm temperatures? Woo, that was tough. I pushed myself so hard. I knew it wasn't going to be a PR. But I wanted to finish sub-2. And I did. Challenging? Oh yes! But rewarding? Yes. Did I feel like crap for the rest of that day? Yes. But would I have been happy if I had stopped to walk?
I'll let you answer that one. Priceless, right?
That was one tough race. Challenging, actually. And I couldn't have been happier with the outcome. Those tough challenges are like notches in my belt. I cross them off the list, and know that the next challenge that comes my way isn't impossible.
How do you challenge yourself? Do you mix it up? Or do you run the same route, do the same routines?
I'm linking this post up with DebRuns--she hosts Wednesday Word, which has become my favorite link up!
And with Sheila and Diatta and their Workout Wednesday link up! Head over to all their blogs to see what everyone else is saying!
Also with Fit Foodie Mama and Wild Workout Wednesdays. So many link ups, so little time!