Sunday, January 24, 2010

Giving myself a time out.

Most people I know run because they join running events. These events are a good group of goals to have around. It's nice to have something to run toward to, something measurable, and on that day itself, tangible. 

 I join running events because I want to run.
 I have been running for 11 years. I was at my most active during high school and uni. When I started working, I sort of stopped running continuously and did 'group' sports that were more accessible after work - badminton, squash, etc. Only after I saw a friend entering the local running event that I got the most bitter jealousy ever that radiated from the monitor screen to my face. I have been missing running; I always considered it to be 'my' sport and not anyone else - everybody knew me as the runner in university - that when I saw my friends with their medals I vowed to get myself involved with the whole romance of running again.

 So I started. I stopped just running and did my research - I did LSDs, tempo runs, speed intervals, hills - reminiscent of my high school cross country days. I liked it alright. It served the purpose - I was running 4 times a week again and slept right and stretched endlessly. 

 But after a while it lost the fairytale romance. 

 I don't know how to explain it. Just that after a while, the need to run faster has turned my running relationship into a 'must' rather than a 'want'. I was concerned with my time, I felt shitty if I missed the target mileage, I went crazy over missed running days. For a decade, running took me away from the stress of other things, and now, running sometimes became that source of stress.

 It's entirely my fault. I am a competitive by nature and the tiniest hint of competition would set me determined to win. Running does that to me naturally.

 I only wrote this down because swimming has turned into something like that too. Swimming was something I enjoyed doing as both an alternative to running and also as its own workout. I could swim for hours and I always ended the workout itching to swim again. But after deciding to join the multisport scene and setting up swimming targets, I found myself dreading the workouts. It has turned into something I have to do in order to get better, instead of something I do because. I don't really enjoy my swim as much as I did before because I KNEW what I was doing wrong and my brains were telling myself to change those bad habits. I missed those days when I swam like a madman across the river and felt like a hotshot state swimmer out of it, instead of someone whose kicks weren't strong enough or whose recovery weren't great like I do these days.

 I envy other people like you guys who seemed to love it continuously despite, and because of, the relentless training. I wish we were cut from the same cloth :)

 I have been taking the time for these past few weeks to just get myself into the groove of working out without having any goals.  I went for walks without caring what the time period and distance were, I swim continuous laps without counting, there'll be days when all the exercise I did were pilates classes. Cycling seems to be one of the sports where I have yet to feel that pressure; because I am a newbie, therefore I have no goals to achieve, nothing to compare myself to. I enjoyed all the rides I did just feeling awesome because my heart was pumping and my legs felt like torched steaks. This is good for me.

 When I start my running days again, which will be in 5-6 weeks or so, I plan to do it with a reckless abandon. I'm going to leave my watch at home, and just run. I want to feel as if I'm springing across the tarred roads and flying, I want to end the run with a smile both on my face and in my heart. Most of all, I want to stop being so rigid, documenting my runs as if my life depended on it. Maybe I would be in races, maybe I won't. I'm not saying I want to stop this entirely, but like all of us are entitled to do, I just want to recharge and restart my system again and find the real reason for me to run: because I love it, and I can.


  1. I felt the dread of training when I felt I could achieve more a few months back..lepas tu I let go, ran at my own pace and ran for got way better after that.
    So just let it go. It may sound wimpy but you'll be much happier.

  2. yeah, i have the same prob too..sometimes i did feel dissappointed when see others can improve damn fast even i train more than them..realizing sport is not in my gene..

    so,i have to work triple times harder than this people(sometimes where i did feel running can change to a stress)'s not fair and of course rasa jeles sket la..!! huhu.. but what to do.. most important thing is don't give up..

  3. I guess all of us would have this problem, I do and we sometimes get carried wanting to do better and faster and evious of others achivements. Is it a bad thing? Not entirely since it does help to spur you on for the betterment but it also needs to be in check from time to time. Else that thing called ego gets bloated up.

  4. Been there done that. And I can't think of any runner who hasn't experienced it.

    It's called burning out. There were days when it's morning, I was about to put on my running shoes and I thought: do I have to do this again?

    So, yeah, I'd do the same thing too. Just think of it as exercise, not training for a specific race. Or simply forget about it, let yourself sink. If you're a true runner, you'll surface again.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. I hope you find peace within you soon. Layan beskal dulu...

  6. this entry hits me bull's eye in the forehead especially on, 'went crazy over missed running days'..

    i think we should just chill and run.. just dont stress ourselves unnecessarily as running should be therapeutic

  7. julin: yes that's what i plan to do, but rest assured that we're not wimps for doing that!

    jiha: i've felt it too - discouraged at some points and you wonder if you're really cut out for the sport. But you're right, don't give up! although its okay to have a break once in a while :)

    yimster: it's not a bad thing, and at times it helps me to push harder and get me to a point i didn't think I could. it's when you're thinking too much about it that is not a good thing. hehe, well, we're human.

    haza: yes, burning out is exactly what i think it is. Initially i thought I was just not made to be 'competing' but I guess I was looking too much into the result and not seeing the bigger picture. a rest is definitely what i need.

    amsyah: hehe basikal and karate I guess. Slowly trying to put the fn back instead of dread.

    chrushhio: oh tell me about it, i would go anal over missed running days. its horror trying to juggle those missed days alongside days you havent done yet! Taking your advice to chill out and just run. :)

  8. its d running virus.. highly infectious & addictive..