After a race, you sometimes hear about folks experiencing the post-race blues: without a goal to focus on and a training plan to stick to, the motivation to do anything is hard to come by and slowly life starts to lose that spark. I’ve fallen into that pit of despair more than once, I’ll admit.
No, not that pit of despair. (photo credit)
So this time around, I was determined not to let it happen again, by listening to my body and running when I felt like it. After the race, I took a necessary few days off to let my legs recover (they were really achy from that final 1.5 mile sprint), and I headed out for my first “fun” run in months.
And it was perfect.
I did a few loops up around my parents’ neighborhood and my old elementary school, didn’t look at my watch, walked when I needed, and just enjoyed the fact that I didn’t have to run a certain pace or mileage. Then the sun went down and I got hungry, so I called it at about 2.5 miles.
And then I didn’t run for 3 days (insert sad trombone music). I know, I know – bad runner! But without that training schedule barking at me to put the run above everything else, I finally had time and energy to do all the things that fell by the wayside throughout those training weeks. I caught up with old friends and went to a happy hour! I had date night with my husband! I finally cleaned the house and did the 5 loads of laundry that had piled up! Do you know how exciting it is to see things that have been buried in the bottom of the hamper for weeks on end? It’s pretty sweet.
So when the weekend rolled around, I was itching for my “long run”. Because I wasn’t forcing it anymore, I looked forward to running again! So I headed out and had another delightfully “go wherever your heart takes you” kind of run around my town. Like our friend Penny of the Big Bang Theory, my plan was to “run until I got hungry and then stop for a bear claw” (in the metaphorical sense. What I really ate was sushi).
The air was crisp, the leaves were colorful, my town was filled with people celebrating a new bakery opening and the YMCA had a Halloween party on the lawn – it was a great day for a run. My knee started to ache a bit a mile from home, so I headed in early and still managed a good 3 miles and change. Again – with no preset mileage needed and without monitoring my pace constantly (although I’m pleased to report that I’m still at my pre-race short distance pace, so woohoo!), it was another “this is why I do this” kind of run.
Since the weekend, I’m pleased to report that there are no signs of the blues in sight! I started using my Desk Cycle in earnest again (12 miles before 10AM on Monday) and have a strength training session planned for this afternoon. In addition to the few shorter runs I’ve taken in the past few days, I’m feeling pretty good about maintaining the endurance I built up through training while also not making it feel like work. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about: having fun?
I’d say so!