This year started out very differently than it is finishing for me. I started out training for a marathon in the spring, having just got back into running, this was a feat in itself. 12 weeks of training up. Yes, it is as exhausting as it sounds. I ran the marathon in May. After completing it (and recovering from it) I got to thinking, could I do more? How much more. How much could I run this year? 800km? 1000km? This spiraled me into month after month of chasing this idea down km after km. And finally after 357 days this year. I tagged it. 1000km.
I thought I would share the top 6 things I learned about running 1000km this year:
Weather – Well like it or not, it’s out of your control. But I would say defienetly running in colder is better than hotter temp. Clothing is important. I started out overestimating my need for warm clothes and soon realized I was quite happy running in shorts and a T shirt most of the year. Early morning or late night is the best times. But at the end of the day good weather vs bad weather can’t play a factor in deciding to run or not. You just are running regardless.
Its Not All About Gear… But – Having what you need is important. Be Seen. Have back up plans, and a headlamp, rain slicker etc. A running vest was a game changer for me. Being able to carry all this and a few snacks on longer runs made things alot easier.
Motivation – It comes from different places, at different times, and sometimes its not even there at all. Joining races helped. Whether in person or virtual. It was a reason to get out the door. Strava also kept me motivated with smaller goals, challenges. Running with others was also very valuable at times.
No One Else Cares – Now this isn’t meant to sound negative, but its true. No one cares how much you have run today, or this week, or month. It means about as much as telling someone proudly that you achieved grocery shopping! And that’s ok, your not running for the accolades of others, its for you and that’s something important to remember.
Mental Health – I believe that everyone’s mental health needs a pick me up, mine sure did, especially since the beginning of the pandemic. Running has become a “refocus” part of my day, it has kept my sanity on harder days, and helped me start the day off right on days jam packed with other responsibilities. It has kept me accountable, in many ways. Paying closer attention to my eating habits, keeping more honest about not so many late nights, and has given me a goal to focus on weekly.
Every Run Counts – Every run, every garbage throw away non motivated run. Every “I only have enough time to run around the park before work starts”. Every single one of them counts. They all add up, they all pushed me out the front door. They all make me feel like a better me. I have had strangers cheer me on while running through neighborhoods, people pull over to talk to me as I’m running down a farm roads, because they used to run, and miss it. I get the friendly wave from runners passing by on the opposite side of the street. A tip of the hat, one that says “Fuck ya, your out here crushing it too!”.
The overall that I have taken away from this year, this experience is that being a runner, an amateur runner (at best) has made me a better person. It is easy to forget to take time to focus on ourselves, challenge ourselves, or give ourselves a headshake. I think running gives the time and space for that. A moment to breathe, away from everything else we have going on, and just focus, just run.