Thursday, March 22, 2012

Enjoyment of Running

If you are not enjoying running, it isn't very fun.  That seems true enough.  I have not been enjoying my running the last few weeks.  Lately, the trend has been turning and my "running enjoyment" index is moving upward.  That's great news and gives me encouragement that I'll be running, racing, and enjoying the hell out of my running within the next few weeks.

Why the lack of enjoyment?  I've been injured.  When you are injured, running ain't fun. Even when you are "recovering" from injury, your running is tentative and lacks joy. And when you have the pressure of upcoming races, that stress can further reduce the pleasure of running. I can't change the past, but I can try to minimize things that reduce my pleasure and maximize those that may increase my enjoyment. That time has come today. Things are going to change.

I now seem to be on the path to a full recovery from my left calf strain.  I've had three massage therapy sessions, two of which were intense deep-muscle massage, and the treatments seem to be working.  My calf has not hurt on the last 4 runs.  With proper warm-up and cool-down, and controlled aerobic running (keeping heart rate below 150), the calf is happy and I'm finding joy in hitting the trails. This needs to continue.  What am I doing to keep on the right track?  I scheduled another 60 minute massage session, am using my HR monitor to limit my effort and pace, and I'm warming up with lots of walking and some very easy jogging...then I commence my "controlled run."

On another front, I have revisited my running goals for the year, and assessed my current progress and made adjustments for the future.  I have already set one new personal record (28-mile Riddle Run on January 28). No more records need to be set!  I am behind on total mileage for the year, but have plenty of time to "catch-up" and reach that goal by December 31.  No need to rush.  I have done a few barefoot runs and feel confident I can reach my goal of a 10-mile barefoot run before years-end. And that pesky 50-mile goal for Howl at the Moon (in August) is still possible with consistent training and no injuries. I need more running and less stress. I have decided to skip the Kettle Moraine 100K race in June. It was intended as another PR attempt and a super-long run in preparation for Howl at the Moon.  I don't need to break my 100K record this year. It can wait. And a "long run" of 100K (62 miles) seems inappropriate and unnecessary for a 50-mile attempt in August.

Likewise, my Potawatomi 50 mile trail race may be least as a real race attempt.  It's on April 14 and I'm not ready.  I'll continue to train and hopefully progress, but if April 13 comes and I don't feel ready, then I'll skip the 50 miler. No big deal.  Maybe I go and use it as a well-supported long run of 20-30 miles, then DNF. Or run/walk the whole thing as an endurance "keep on your feet" type of training. For now, I will not worry about it. I need less pressure and stress.

That's my short-term worries, no races, no PRs. Continue to heal, continue to run. Keep that "running enjoyment index" moving upward!

Hope you are enjoying your own running. 


jeff said...

sounds like a recipe for running enjoyment.....maybe instead of the 100K you might feel like running lake mingo trail in june

Chris said...


That's a great idea! I will start my speed training today and be ready for the 7-mile trail race by June. Maybe I'll win my age group...or the whole darn thing if I train hard enough! ;-)

Are you crazy? I need time away from races and lots of good old fashioned aerobic running.