I went out for a run the other day with a friend of mine who is much slower than me – not that I’m exactly breaking speed barriers myself. I hadn’t seen her in awhile, and I was looking forward to the chance to catch up and chat while we ran. As luck would have it, I had forgotten my Garmin that day, so I had no idea what pace we were going. At first, that kind of irked me. How was I supposed to know if the run was a success or failure? How would I know that we had gone exactly 8 miles and not (God forbid) 7.98? The horror!
As it turns out, it didn’t matter that I didn’t have my watch. It didn’t matter how fast we were going or how far. We were having too much fun to care. As we wrapped up the miles, I found myself thinking “That was a really good run.” The fact that I thought that came as a surprise; for most of my running career, the only thing that has mattered is how fast I went and how far. Did I stay under some arbitrarily assigned pace goal that I made for myself? Did I complete the assigned mileage for the day? If the answer to one or both of those questions (depending on the purpose of the run) was no, then it was not a good run. It was that simple for me.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about redefining success as you return to running after taking some time off for any number of reasons. It’s been a difficult lesson for me to learn, but the run this week is a sign that my shift in mentality is working. There’s more to running than just speed or distance; there’s also the camaraderie, the fellowship, the peace, and the joy. While I’m not naïve enough to think that every run is going to be a good one – because let’s be honest, sometimes they just totally suck – I like the idea of having a lot more options in how I classify a run as good or bad.
An old running adage says that running is ninety percent mental and the rest is physical. While I always thought that meant that how successful you are on any given run has a lot more with how you think you’ll do than how your body actually feels, I now realize that there’s more to it. In running and in life, it’s all about perspective.
Read all of T-Rex Runner’s past posts for Women’s Running here.