Friday, August 16, 2013

Fitness Friday: Moving on and Loving Running Again

Fitness Friday is Back!

So...if you read my most recent post, you've heard that last week wasn't such a great running week. I ran a 5K race on the track, which I let intimidate me and throw my attitude off completely. I was disappointed that I still haven't hit my 30 minute 5K goal. I took some time to reflect on the situation and realized I need to stay in the positive and not put so much pressure on myself each race.

Lately, everything I've been doing has been about speed. I've been really pushing myself in our speed-focused workouts  in RunKNOX. Even on the "easy runs" scheduled in to our training, I've tried to push myself and I've worried about my pace. Honestly, all of this speed work and pressure to get my 5K time down has just sucked all of the fun out of running for me lately. 

I'm conflicted because I want running to be fun and enjoyable. However, my 5K goal pace is not fun and enjoyable. It's challenging. It's uncomfortable. It's hard to keep going sometimes.

I don't think I'm alone in this internal conflict. I happened to have a conversation with some running friends this week, who shared they also want running to be fun. They shared various ways they keep running enjoyable - focusing only on slower, long distance runs, training less aggressively, or even skipping racing altogether and only running for enjoyment and health benefits.

It was great to hear these perspectives and know I'm not alone in feeling this way. Ultimately, I want to keep training towards becoming a faster runner. I know it's going to involve some training runs and races where I will have to push beyond my current capabilities to make real progress. Those will feel tiring, uncomfortable, and sometimes even miserable (like they'll never end). However, there is (and will always be) room for fun, enjoyable runs - social runs, easy runs in my training. I haven't had enough of those lately!

Enough is enough. I'm going to hate running if I keep this up. This week, I took the pressure off myself and tried to enjoy running again. A couple of runs with RunKNOX, as well as a social run with the Knoxville Track Club gave me the opportunity to do just that!

Here's how the week went:

Saturday - 5 mi run

This was my first attempt at enjoying running and not taking it so seriously. I failed at the first of those objectives, but managed to accomplish the second. The problem - it was SO HUMID that morning I could see the humidity hanging in the air. It made running feel miserable. I did my best to enjoy my music, take it slow and not worry about pace, and enjoy the scenery. The temperature and humidity made that tough, but I did enjoy certain parts - especially running in the shade on 3rd Creek greenway.

The one interesting thing about the humidity is how it created a "dreamy" effect as the sunlight came through the trees.

Sunday - Off


Monday - Boot Camp

I really enjoy my new boot camp class right after work. This week we did everything from squats to lunges to mountain climbers to sprints, etc. The toughest exercise for me was side planks. I think planks are hard in general, but side planks are even tougher! I was the only person who couldn't hold the plank as long as instructed. I'll get there. :)

Tuesday - 4 mi Run with RunKNOX


FINALLY! I enjoyed running for the first time in forever! The weather was cooler, several friends close to my pace showed up, and we ran an easy 4 miles. I made a point to run at a very easy pace, listened to a great playlist on Songza (I knew it would be a good night when "Funky Cold Medina" was the first song!), and just chilled out. I only looked at my watch for distance purposes (we turned around after 2 miles). Afterwards, I found out that my pace was indeed slower than usual for me (12:30 min/mi), but that's okay. I consider the fact that I got back out there and enjoyed it a win!

Wednesday - Directionally Challenged...

As we like to do as often as possible, B and I planned to attend a social run hosted by the Knoxville Track Club. This time, we were to meet at 6 PM and were given an address where to meet. I arrived on time, but wasn't familiar with that specific area of downtown (I've never lived or worked downtown). My GPS got confused and took me to the wrong address. By the time I arrived at the correct address, the group had already left.

I was mad at myself for being such an idiot (really, I've lived in Knoxville 8 years), but I turned the evening around. The route we were to run had been posted online, so I followed the directions and ran a little over 3 miles. This was a little out of my comfort zone, as I never run by myself for safety reasons. However, the route took me through very populated areas, and it was still light out. I texted B and sent a Facebook message to the group so that they would know where I was and what I was doing.

I finished my run not long after the group finished theirs, and was still able to meet up with them for dinner. All's well that ends well!


The last couple of days, I've taken a quick break from running. I'm running another 5K tomorrow, however! I don't know if I'll hit my 30 minute goal time. I hope I do, and it is the goal I'm shooting for. However, my expectation of myself is to try my best and maintain a positive attitude!

Do you find it difficult to balance the enjoyment of running as you push towards your goals? How do you manage it?


See what others around the web are doing with these great fitness communities:

Coffee & macarons

 I was not compensated by RunKNOX, or the Knoxville Track Club for this post, nor is any organization affiliated with this blog. I am simply sharing my honest opinions and experiences. The views expressed in this article are solely my own. Also, I'm not a health or fitness professional of any kind. See my  Terms and Conditions page.
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  1. I've found that just doing what my body tells me to do is the best. I don't look at my GPS, and I just enjoy my music. Better than music is running and talking with friends. It helps take your mind off of the unpleasant part.

    Don't worry about your sub 30 minute goal. You WILL get there, maybe not right now, but it will happen. Think about how far you've come already!

  2. I find this balance tricky sometimes too. I want to enjoy it, but I want to be faster. But you're right, working on speed is HARD, uncomfortable work. After "seriously" running for just around 3-4 years now, I'm beginning to really work on my speed. I've found that just running 1 mile, then .5 mile, then .25 mile at the fastest pace I can muster up is the best. Short, reachable goals. :) Gradually, I'll add on distance to those runs and hopefully get where I want to be. The fact that you're driven and want to improve means you'll achieve your goal!

  3. It took me a few times to get my sub 30 5k. And when I finally did it, I ran a 28:49! It was when I stopped putting so much pressure on myself that it finally happened. You can do it!

  4. Hi Amy!
    Yes, last week I was doing great! I joined running club and ran three times, speed work, tempo and distance (12.5miles). This week I had to report back to school (I'm a teacher) and running club was cancelled and my tempo run day didn't happen because of back to school night. I'm hoping for a distance run tomorrow and Sunday!

    Keep your chin up. We have to push through to make our goals. I feel your frustration. Keep it fun!!! :)

  5. It's always interesting to read different perspectives. The hard, challenge and uncomfortableness is part of what I love about running. Does that make sense? There is a character trait of runners that tends to make us put so much pressure on ourselves.

    You will find what works. You can do this!

  6. I've found that getting that sub-30 really can be mental.. but beware! Once you get it there's no going back. I remember accomplishing my first one and had that uh-oh moment. Now I 'have" to sub-30 all of my 5K's! Haha, of course that's not true. Keep and it and it will come.

    As far as the running burnout, I've been there too. Try to mix up your runs with something fun. A new route, a new race, throw in a trail, etc. Good luck!

  7. I like that we are at all levels. Keep it up!

  8. I completely agree, you can have running goals in mind to meet, but every now and then just go run for fun! It can be an un-timed run, a run with a friend, or just a silly 5k like a foam fest or color run! Anything to remember why you enjoy running in the first place.

  9. a blogger i follow was getting frustrated with her distance so she ditched her HRM and just ran for the sake of running...and she loved it! it helped her refocus on her love of running and in that, she improved her distance (the HRM was making her feel unmotivated when she wasn't hitting her targets). So, I think that taking some of the pressure off yourself to do just want you love to do (run) is something that you need... a break is what we need at times to remember why we fell in love in the first place.

    for me, i stay motivated because i don't put pressure on myself. i know what i need to do and i follow tony horton's MO: DO YOUR BEST AND FORGET THE REST. so i do my best at every workout and forget the rest. i also challenge myself; if today, i could only curl 22lbs 8 times before failure, the next day i will curl 22lbs 9 times. although it's just one extra rep, it's still better than yesterday and i know that if i just keep adding one more rep, i get stronger and stronger with each added rep.


    Vodka and Soda

    1. Great Comment Kathy!
      I totally agree about the just one more rep or one more pound sentiment! Some workouts a decent part of it will be pretty rough and you feel weak, but then one or two exercises you will be really strong in. I always celebrate those and just know that the other ones will be better another day!
      Consistency really is the key (both at the gym or on the road) and as long as we keep at it (getting through the rough ones) long term we will be so very strong and powerful!


  10. It's hard to find a balance, but you'll get there! I know it :)

  11. Humidity is the worst. I hate it. I think there is a benefit to training in heat, but I am not convinced that you get much training benefit out of running in humidity. Sometimes it just knocks me out.. I totally get it not being fun.
    Side planks are definitely tough, but I have found them to really work too! One way to mix it up is to do side plank crunches. You don't have to hold the plank as long and you really feel it working
    It is one of my "core" videos here
    Getting your core as strong as you want can take months (even years) but along the way you get stronger and look and feel better.. and the nice thing is (because it takes as long as it did to get) it takes a long time to really lose it too!
    WIthout a doubt there are runs (and weeks of runs) that aren't "fun". I have had runs that were utterly brutal, but I do find that they are usually easier to handle if running with someone else. Lately I haven't had that as much, so I just try to run where there are people and do some "people watching" :)
    I trained for a track series earlier this summer and a lot of the training was not exactly a joy.. it is true. But those workouts where I felt like a champion or did better than I thought I might made it worth it. I always threw in at least one run a week where I didn't care about my pace though.. it is important mentally.