When Running Isn’t the Answer

“Running is my therapy.”

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I think we’ve all heard it, and I know I’ve said it. While running is a way for many of us to clear our minds and process some thoughts, is it really therapy?

Running these past few weeks has been a challenge. In some ways, I was thrilled to be training specifically for a 5K, to improve my speed and hopefully my PR. I was working hard and seeing some times that I haven’t hit in quite a while. But in other ways, I had the least motivation to lace up my shoes. I put off runs to stay in bed, to hang out with the two whole friends I have in Plattsburgh, and to do work. I still kept thinking “I’ll feel better if I run. I just have to run. Running will make it better”. I’d get up in the morning to go back to bed, or put on my sneakers just to take them right back off. The whole “training plan” wasn’t happening, and I hated myself for it.

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But when I think back on it, so much of my lack of motivation was truly sheer exhaustion. Exhaustion from a month of traveling, endless tests and projects, the stress of finishing up my on-campus clinic experience and transitioning to my upcoming internships, trying to figure out what the heck to do with my life, and dealing with some personal dilemmas. Sure, running was an escape. I would go out for a few miles and most of the crap didn’t show up in my thoughts. When I walked back into my house and stopped my garmin, everything was still there.

Running helps. Running makes me feel like I’m more than what I’m going through academically, professionally, and personally. However running isn’t the answer. Running sometimes feels like you’re talking to a wall. You can rant to it all you want, you can cry to it and tell it all of your secrets. But it’s not going to talk back.  Running is not going to complete my projects, make me feel less lonely, or help me feel like a better speech-language pathologist. But what does help is rest, flexibility, spending time with others, and actually doing work. Who’dda thunk? 

Running away from alllll the responsibilities.
Running away from alllll the responsibilities.

In the past few days, and during Tuesday’s run, I really thought about this. I was perfectly happy running “rolling hills” on the treadmill at an easy pace (avg. 10:10). In such a time, is it really necessary to push myself in running rather than everything else? Why can’t I just enjoy it because I love it? So what if I run a 29:00 5K instead of a 27:00 5K? Will that make me love running any less? Will it make me a better professional? NO. But know what did help? Staying in, writing a treatment plan and doing research for my clients that should have been done 3-5 weeks ago when I was too busy getting ready for a half marathon.

So I challenge you all, and myself, to look at running a different way. Instead of seeing it as therapy, per say, maybe look at running as a reward. A reward for your hard work for whatever you do during the day and for treating yourself well. I’m not saying don’t set goals, because that’s how you get better. But if you find yourself losing your joy in order to reach a goal, take a step back and just run. Sleep in a little. Drink that extra beer on a Friday night. Read that extra book or research article. Run when you want, where you want, and how you want. 

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This was definitely a post with a lot of thoughts, so today I’m linking up once again with the amazing Amanda @ Running With Spoons. Have a wonderful Thursday!

Thinking-Out-Loud

Is running your therapy? Or is it your “something else”.

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3 thoughts on “When Running Isn’t the Answer

  1. “Run when you want, where you want, and how you want.” <– couldn't have said it better than that! Running is my therapy sometimes, and other times it's not. There are runs that feel great, and those that don't. Basically, I think it's important not to put all your eggs in one basket and expect running to make you feel amazing at all times. Backups are necessary — even if that means it's binge watching your favourite show on Netflix.

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  2. Oooh I like this idea! Running is my therapy, but it’s also my reward. Sometimes when I’ve had a great day I celebrate with a few miles on one of my favorite trails and it feels great! I’m injured right now but I have a feeling running is going to be something I do for fun once I get back to it!

    Liked by 1 person

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