After I ran my marathon, I tried. I really, really tried to be the runner I had been for two years prior. But somewhere along those 26.2 miles through Los Angeles, the joy I felt was gone. I was burnt out and I had a decision to make. Do I keep slogging through miles, hoping I will love it again—or do I stop?
Things change. We change. And this, of course, is true of life in general. The things we once loved, that served us and fed our souls, somehow stop to do just that and we are left to accept it and move on.
Now of course, running is hard. For every ten great runs you have, there will always be a bad one. And, especially in the beginning, this statistic may change and for every one good run you have there will be ten bad runs. The pivotal moment, however, is when that one just isn’t there. When you have to sit down and take a good look at why it isn’t working and what you can do about it.
In the case of running, that means looking at your priorities and goals. Why did you start running? If it was to lose weight, you can find another form of exercise that you enjoy doing. If it was to find a tribe, you can try a cycling club or a fitness class full of like-minded people. If it was because you wanted to race, you can try obstacle races that break up the running with some new challenges.
I of course am not trying to push you away from running, but the good news is, if you need a break, running will be waiting for you when you get back.
Don’t do something that doesn’t make you happy—yes, even if it is ‘good for you.’ You can find something else that is equally as good for you that brings you joy. Being a runner is going to suck sometimes. But if you find the bad days are outnumbering the good and it’s affecting your daily life? Well, maybe it’s time to move on.
And whether that is forever or for just a little while, remember the strength that running gave you to connect with yourself and choose the path that’s right for you. The important thing is that you fought and you tried and no matter where it leads you, you are stronger and better for it.