Purposeful Running

Hey-o.

Remember me? The Robyn formally known as a blogger?

Yea…this week’s been one of those, and that’s an understatement. It’s safe to say that yesterday was in the top 5 of most stressful of my professional career. It’s not a bad thing, in fact I prefer it, it just amounts to a lot of need for sleep and tv, and not a lot of time for blogging.

Also, truth be told, I don’t have much of interest to report. Do I ever? Don’t answer that.

But frankly, I’m a little boring and I’m a big believer in writing about the things I want to write about as opposed to just filling the internet with purposeless jargon.

Which is, ironically, a nice little segway into something that’s been on my mind a lot recently in regards to running. Now that I’m anecdote-d the crap out of this post, let’s get to some real deal things…sound good? Great.

Purpose. A word that reminds me of childhood tattle-tale (“You totally did that on purpose!”) and yet it’s been finding itself in my present life somewhat frequently. I love the idea of doing things with purpose, with intention. It makes for so much more productivity and satisfaction in our actions—and it leaves out all the useless things that tend to fill up our time. Of course, the useless things can be so much easier and that’s why we need them to help unwind (Hello, OnDemand tv shows). But for the most part, I prefer to live my day to day life with some semblance of purpose.

This has also been my new approach in running. I’ve decided that while I’m in the “off-season” yet working harder on getting faster and stronger, I want all of my workouts to have a particular purpose. It’s a quality over quantity approach of sorts, and it’s been working wonderfully.

Translation: no junk miles, no running just to feel like I worked out, and added rest, strength, and stretching.

When I head out on a run nowadays, I’m trying to make sure that I’m getting something productive out of it, besides simply a good sweat. For instance, my typical “10-mile Tuesday,” which is normally done on a flat, out-and-back route, has now turned into a 7-8 mile hill-climbing Tuesday. Doesn’t quite have the same ring, does it?

But the point is that instead of heading out on a normal, easy run where I can zone out until it’s over, I’m trying to put some purpose in the miles. Hills have historically been a weaker point for me, and I’m really intent on getting over my fear of them. Also, in my quest for speed, hills are the best kind of speedwork in disguise, so while the grunt work might be tough—I know that integrating hills is doing a double-whammy of benefits for my running.

Another thing I’ve been focused on is getting to the pain point, and embracing it. I’ve come to a place where I can handle a good amount of distance at a comfortable pace, and the challenge has gone away a bit. I’m certainly happy about this and I think it’s a good place to be in, but for me…I want more. There isn’t much room for growth inside of our comfort zones, which is why another purposeful action I’ve been taking it getting outside of it, and welcoming the pain.

So I’d say that there are three core workouts that have been defining my running lately: speed work (mostly on a treadmill…baby steps), hills, and a long run. Any other running is done super slow and super short, and I’m kind of digging this method for now. It’s been interesting trying to balance getting some good rest in between marathons with also trying to get faster, but I think that the approach of making each run count toward something has been helpful.

And perhaps one of the biggest things: when I don’t want to run, I don’t run. I don’t feel guilty about it, and I don’t dwell on it all day. And low and behold…by the next morning, I can’t wait to get out again.

So simple, so logical, yet it’s taken so long to get there.

Initially, I was worried that if I took the winter to focus on speed, I’d surely burn out before it was time for the Big Goal for a spring 2012 marathon. But I feel the opposite. I feel a fire building, and I can feel motivation slowly garnering itself. By the time early February comes around, I’m hoping that fire has reached max-capacity and will be ready to hit a very regimented and goal-oriented training schedule hard.

I credit this building enthusiasm to both purposeful running and purposeful rest. Essentially, all the activity—or lack of activity—that I have been doing, I try to do with mindfulness and care. It takes a little more planning ahead of time and a little less auto-pilot mode, but for right now…it works for me.

I’m hoping I’ll be able to carry on some of this purposeful training into my real training next Spring, and in the meantime…it’s all about balancing the pain points and the rest days. They compliment each other quite well, turns out.

 

Happy Friday! Have a nice weekend!

 

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