It has been so long to run just to run. Sometimes near the end of marathon training running can begin to feel like a job because every run is for something. Be it a speed workout, long run, or even just a recovery run. Every run is mapped out to maximize your training. It is necessary, but it does get old. You do it because the more it feels like a job the closer you are to your event. Then the day comes where all that training pays off on a good day.
Then after said race, you are in recovery. You give your body the break that it needs. That it deserves. That it earned no matter how your race turned out. Mine was pretty good and my body recovered fairly quickly after Marine Corps. I do think that was because of all the miles that I put in. The way that I didn’t really deviate from my training plan, but that is over now.
It is a strange feeling not to be training for anything in the imminent future. I will say it feels nice. It gives your body and spirit a chance to reconnect with why you started running in the first place. I started running just to run. I forgot what that felt like. It’s a good feeling. No assigned pace. Just the you and the wind on your face.
Yesterday, I went out for what was supposed to be a recovery run. To be honest, I feel completely recovered as the marathon was now 2 weeks ago. So yesterday. Now, I know that last year it took me a long, long, long time to recover from the Philadelphia Marathon, but I did not go into that as well trained as this year. So yesterday, I decided to run to my son’s soccer game which was only about a mile and a half away. Then I figured I would do another 5 miles or so afterwards.
How did it go?
It went great. Although I wore my Garmin, I did not watch the clock. I just ran to run. I had no plan when I started other than to run a few miles. Then as I got into the run, I wanted to push myself. No reason. No pace. I just wanted to feel the burn in my lungs that can only come with a hard run. It felt great! It reminded me why I started to run in the first place. It wasn’t to hit a pace or a distance, it was just to run.
You know what?
Once I downloaded my run, I realized something. Not only did the run feel great emphasizing the intentional push of making my lungs burn and pushing myself to the limit, but the run looks good on paper. Not trying to, I ended up with not only very nice splits, but for me very fast splits! My last mile clocked in at 8:08. I have never run an eight minute mile till yesterday.
So, yes, when training for a specific event it is best to follow a plan. That being said, sometimes its fun just to push yourself to the limit and remember why you started running in the first place.