The other day, a coworker was asking me about my training plan. She’s a fairly experienced runner, so she’s familiar with challenging plans. I explained to her my run/bike/swim schedule and she looked at me and said
“Why in the world would you do that? That sounds awful!”
I didn’t understand her meaning. I don’t think my schedule is awful. It’s not easy, but it’s not horrifyingly challenging either. Turns out she runs 3-4 times a week, whereas I’m swim/bike/running 6 days a week. Fewer rest days for sure.
But the thing is, I like it. I think triathlon is fun. I don’t always love every single workout, but as a whole, I do enjoy it. If I didn’t, why would I do it?
And yet, so often, I think people do various physical activities because they think they have to, not because they want to. I’ve heard friends say “I hate running marathons, but I keep doing it.”
WHY? Why do you keep doing it if you hate them? You can be a runner and not run marathons. I have no desire to run a marathon again anytime soon. I didn’t enjoy the training and I didn’t enjoy the racing. Maybe someday I will run one again, but I don’t see that day coming anytime soon. And it’s not because I can’t do it. I know I could train back up and now that I’m working with a coach, I know I could even PR (which wouldn’t take much). But I don’t want to, so I don’t have to.
I see it with triathletes too. People think they have to go up to the next distance. Yes, I do have a 70.3 in my sights. But that’s because I want to do it. Do I see a 140.6 in my future? No way. I have zero interest in that. See above mentioned lack of desire to run a marathon.
You should do things because you want to, not because you feel like you have to. If you’re not enjoying your training, change it up. That’s part of the reason I started doing triathlons. Running was okay, but I was getting sick of it. I don’t actually like running 4-5 days a week. But running interspersed with other activities? Not so bad.
Of course, if you’re finding that you suddenly hate every training run, you might just be suffering a bit of burnout and need a rest. But if a week off doesn’t help, it might be time to rethink your goals. Even if you love the race, if you hate every single training day leading up to it, you should probably change something. Figure out a new goal. Maybe add in some cross training to see if you can find something else you love.
Running is sort of the easy entrance into athletics. You just need some shoes. But there are lots of other ways to be active. Look into fitness classes. I have a number of friends who have fallen in love with Barre classes and spin classes. Another friend has taken up boxing, which I find insane and amazing. Maybe you love weight lifting. There are a lot of options. Just because you started out as a runner doesn’t mean you need to stay a runner.
Find what you love and do that.