On a recent long run with the FF group, to get to know people a little better, I asked the loaded question: why do you run? How did you get into running? The answers ran the (usual) gamut — fitness, something I did in high school/middle school/college, the challenge, it’s fun, etc. I added my own two cents about running’s purity and simplicity: reasons, I think, are among the most compelling for me to a) run in the first place and b) continue to run.
As simple as running can be, though, it can also be unduly complicated. Some in the running world swear by their gizmos and gadgets, wanting to know exactly how many calories/mile they’ve burned in the past X minutes. Some try to “get back to nature” by running barefoot, or by buying running shoes that mimic barefoot running. Others insist on only buying Big Running Brand because that’s where their allegiances (or sponsorships) lie. Still others preach that their running plans are The Gospel, completely infallible, and that Nothing Can Go Wrong with a plan designed by Running Expert Y.
Though my running years may still be premature, compared to those of my running buddies, one of the perennial lessons I’ve learned (IMHO, of course) is to simply Go With It. This means running in shoes that feel best for your feet (regardless of how “barefoot” or “non-barefoot” they feel); wearing clothes that you don’t have to think about when you’re running (because let me assure you, it doesn’t matter how much bling your clothes may have… if they’re chafing you in any way, you’ll want ’em off straightaway!); and perhaps most importantly, listening to your body when it’s trying to tell you something.
That last part — the “listening to your body” part — is sometimes a struggle for me. Though my plan may call for a rest day, if I’m feeling So Good, I’ll be tempted to run. Conversely, if I am supposed to run but am not feeling up to it, I’ll still sometimes sludge through the work-out, thinking that I have to follow The Gospel, else my training will fall behind and my performance suffer. Becoming acutely aware to my body’s signals has taken some time to get used to, and is obviously still a work in progress, but it’s something I’ve gotten better about.
Case in point: after Wednesday’s altered speed workout (since ice and hills don’t go too well together), Thursday was a planned complete rest day for me, and this morning was supposed to be a 7-miler. Sometime between yesterday morning and yesterday night I came down fast and furious with a cold- or allergy-like “thing.” This meant that I was in bed by about 7:12 last night (I remember seeing the clock) and woke up every hour, almost on the hour, to blow my spigot-of-a-nose. To make matters worse, when I awoke around 5:55/6 this morning to do my 7 miler, I had some lovely GI issues surface. Perfect. Though I wanted to run, and I knew that I’d likely make myself feel better if I did, I remembered reading somewhere that if anything is awry below your neck, you shouldn’t run. And alas, that was the case.
This may mean that I’ll be about 7 miles off this week’s target. Is it the end of the world? Not at all. Is it enough to make me a little nervous? Absolutely. What am I going to do about it – try to do a longer-than-long run tomorrow (slated for 12), or a longer-than-usual recovery run on Sunday (slated for 3)? Eh, we’ll see. For now, I’ll just go with it…