Running – Is It Becoming the Daily Grind? Why?

Not running much this week or last has been an opportunity to think about things related to running. I notice that the further I get from the day-to-day grind of getting out the door, I am starting to see things from a different perspective.
A squirrel and cardinal at the feeder
Yesterday, as I looked out the window and watched the critters at the feeder, the squirrels chasing each other, I started chuckling at their antics. Especially, when it looked almost like they were having fun and started to think about when the last time I had fun running.
Having fun…even in my opening paragraph to this post, I describe my running as a part of the daily grind. Is that how running is supposed to be at this point in my life — a daily grind?
Which in turn made me think more about the last time I had fun while training. Yeah, like almost everything else about the past couple of years — it’s been a while. This line of thinking also got me thinking about how serious I have been getting about improving my training going into 2022.
Training so seriously…hmmm.

Why?

I am a recreational runner who will turn 65 in 2022, who has a bit too much time on his hands and doesn’t like to admit that Father Time is catching up a lot faster than I want him to.
Realistically, I am not ever going to do more than an occasional age group win locally and even most of my post-60 personal records are not in any jeopardy.

I Get to Run

I know that I don’t have to run, but that I get to run. At my age being able to run as well as I do is a blessing and a privilege. Unfortunately, I have gotten away from thinking that way. 
At age 64, my North Star goal is to still be running at 80 and longer if I can. This means that I need to focus more on doing what makes my running enjoyable.
My running won’t survive the aging process if I continue to look at it as part of the daily grind. I have to get back to having fun while running, making each one an adventure, not simply checking off another day on the training plan. 

What I have lost

When I am in training mode, the grand spectacle of life that goes on around me is hidden from view, because I am too busy training. I am too focused on my pace, stride, how I am breathing, waiting for that next beep to tell me it is time to change my effort/speed.
I have lost that sense of wonder and looking forward to what will happen next on my run today. I miss listening to the bluejays and crows squawking in the trees. Watching the squirrel darting across the road in front of me or the deer bounding into woods from the side of the road. What people are doing around me, beyond are they are a threat or someone to ignore.
I need to recover that sense of wonder on my runs, see the life going on around me, being able to tell a story about my run. 

Why not just run?

I have to get away from putting pressure on myself to do more, go faster, further, strength train, do mobility work, drills and always seeming to be on the edge of injury, battling the niggles, forcing myself out the door to do what the training plan has in store for me that day.
Why not focus instead on enjoying the fact that I am still running and take away most of the negativity that has crept into my running life. Training in and of itself is not a bad thing, but at what point for most of us recreational runners does taking it too far, make running into another stressor in our lives.
Looking at running this way, also means that I have to accept that I might not maximize whatever ability that I have left to run as fast in races. 

Looking forward

Running versus Training, there is a difference and while training is appropriate at times in our running life, I am learning that training for the sake of training is counter-productive to my enjoyment of running.
There is a balance that needs to be struck. 
One where I train hard to complete something that I believe is important and the other where each run is an adventure waiting to be discovered. Perhaps I can discover how they overlap and make it the Harold training plan.
The most important thing is to remember:
I don’t have to run, I get to run.
Changes are coming, I have a feeling.

Come with me now — the best is yet to be.

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