Thursday, June 29, 2006

I Just Run

I've been spending a lot of time reading other runner's blogs recently.

Probably too much time, as a small child could now get lost in my grass and the weeds are taller than the actual bushes in my landscaping beds. But, whatever.

And in all of these blogs, written by all of these wonderful runners, I read about their training.

I read about their tempo runs, their strides, their lactate threshold runs, their long runs, and their recovery runs.

I read about them discussing what pace they should be doing their short runs at vs their long runs if they want to finish their marathons by x:xx time.

I read their discussions on proper nutrition and how many calories they should be eating. And about how much water they should be drinking.

I read about how people love GU, and hate GU. And about how some people like sports drinks, and some do not. About how some people prefer sports jelly beans or blocks. And about some that don't like any of those things and prefer more "normal" snacks.

I read varying ideas of when GU or other supplements are really needed during a long run. And is Gatorade really better than water.

I read about the importance of cross training, and weight lifting.

And I find all of this so, so unbelievably overwhelming!

Because you see...

I. just. run.

One foot in front of the other until the miles are over.

End of story.

My pace is whatever I can do without passing out.

My goal time to finish my marathon is before they kick me off the course.

If I can manage to sneak in a few meals that don't consist of pizza followed by Dairy Queen, it's been a good week.

I NEVER get enough sleep, or go to bed at a decent enough time to get up for my runs.

I've never tried anything other than GU for my long runs.

The only thing I do "right" is hydrate. Because you see...

I actually LIKE water. Most of the time it is the only thing I drink.

Honestly, the only real sacrifice I make for my training is that I give up alcohol. Not that I am a huge drinker, per se. But I hang out with a group of friends who, quite honestly, like to party. So a party or a trip or two to the local bars are the norm for my weekends. And if I am actively training for something my drink of choice is good ol' H2O. My friends give me crap, but at the same time they always have a driver, so who can complain about that, right?

So, I look at what I do...

and I compare it to what everyone else seems to do...

And feel like the hugest slacker on the face of the planet.

I wonder why I am doing this the hard way. Why I can't seem to get my act together to eat better, sleep better. I wonder if I am missing the boat, by not trying to do strides, and tempo runs.

And recovery runs, whatever those are! My idea of recovery is a nap, not a run.

Should I be seeking out these things and trying to incorporate them into my training? Does it take more than just an increase in miles, week after week? If I'm not concerned about my time, should I be worried about tempo runs, and strides, and pace?

And what about my knee?

Yeah, the knee!

The reason I backed off my training is because I am worried about my knee holding up. I don't want to end a running career because I over do it training for Chicago. So, I am opting to go with a too easy beginner schedule, to lessen the stress on it.

I'm so frustrated over my lack of improvement since I started running, but at the same time I'm scared to start training too hard and do permanent harm to my knee.

I'm just so confused.



  1. First, you defintely should respect your knee or any other body part that hurts because you only get one body and you don't want a knee replacement later in life - trust me!

    I say just enjoy yourself. I don't do fancy runs either - I just run but do have time goals mostly because I feel the pressure of needing to run fast because I feel like a loser when people say if you don't run under 5 hours in your marathon you suck. WEll my first two marathons I ran over 5 hours. And, this is the first year I have ever got a watch that does splits - who knew?

    Anyway, I say enjoy and don't get caught up in the madness if you don't want because at least for me it leads to disappointments and injuries. Reading Chi Running has really help me refocus on just enjoying it.

  2. Sometimes I have these feelings reading other peoples blogs. In fact, last night I was reading Advanced Marathoning and I said to my husband--"gee I used to enjoy running and training because I could just go out and run 8 miles a day, lose myself in thought, and feel good about myself but now I have to analyze too much."

    Do what's best for you because while people may know more about marathoning or GU or whatever they don't know more about your body and what it can handle. And just think how much more you run and how much faster you are than the average non-marathoning person... it is really all relative.

  3. i've had my ACL replaced twice due to non-running sports injuries.

    Just listen to your body. The improvement will occur slowly, kinda like a marathon rather than a sprint.

    *nice zen moment, eh?*

  4. I love your attitude about running. Not obsessive, just running. Good for you. :)

    As for the knee - be careful. I had a knee injury that lasted too long because I didn't take care of it when I should have.

    Keep running and enjoy it!

  5. girl, i am with you. i have made peace with the fact that i am a "recreational" runner, a non athelete runner who just wants to finish.

    there is more to life than running.

    running is for you so you should feel proud to do what works for you . you're only competing with yourself. that's the best thing about running but the hardest thing to remember i think

  6. Oh, girl. There is so much I could comment on.... beleive me...I could have written the same post. I feel the same way. As for the lack of progress, or little progress, I have felt the same way. But, as I have heard from other RBFers, running is the slowest progressing "sport". just remember that!

  7. If you are enjoying it, then stick with it. If not, perhaps try one thing different each week. Running with a more experienced runner really helped me as on the longer runs I could talk (just!) about all of the running stuff you are thinking about.

  8. You needn't put so much pressure on yourself. Running is about the individual. Sharing experiences on the blog is just for fun and inspiration - both giving and receiving. Don't compare yourselves to those your read about - except for when you want get a learning and apply it to your own running life. It's taken me 6 years of solid distance running to get to where I am now. First 3 marathons, I didn't know what GU was. Run what distance you want. Remember, many people aren't as courageous as you are to reveal your struggles. When running isn't fun, you need to re-think your approach. I think you're just in a rut.

  9. I hear you. From all the reading I do on blogs and magazines, I still just waddle out there. It's good that you listen to your body and let it dictate what you should do.

    I know it's hard not to be frustrated by the slow progress, but is that really the goal? The goal for me is just getting out there on my run days and doing the matter how long it takes.

  10. You know what. I don't care if I am not as fast as my friends. I got at my own pace and that's it. I will work up what I am comfortable with. If my lungs don't like it, then I have to listen to them...period. You are your own person.

  11. Some think it's all simple, putting one foot in front of the other, but the act of lacing up and heading out puts you in fine company. You are a runner, plain and simple...

  12. everyone has great suggestions. coming from one of those obsessive runners, I have to tell you that I agree with them. do what you enjoy. I ran all through grade school and high school without really caring how fast I was. yeah, I did the speed workouts with the team, but I was always the #8 girl, and that never bothered me. now, after 5+ years of getting back and "just running" (I love how you put that!), including 3 marathons and a handful of halves, I want to be faster. so the tempo runs and the lactate threshold runs, etc. don't bother me. well, the strides do, but they're just dumb. :)

    I guess my point is that maybe eventually you'll have the fire to do more than "just run", but for now, do what you enjoy! because just getting out there and running for yourself is a huge accomplishment.

  13. Funny, I started my running blog because I wanted to have a shared interest with people and have a place to chat about my running. But several marathons later, really what is there to say. Left, right, left, right...not much changes in my running. So now I just write about life and sometimes include some adventurous running stories and my race reports.

    You should run because you like to run and not worry about all the other stuff.