This summer, for the first time since starting my journey with running in 2011, I am not training for something or trying to keep my mileage up for a future race.
And it feels great.
I have gone from running between 20-25 miles a week to running a wonderful 10 mpw. After (and during the training for) my last half marathon, I was feeling burnt out and wanted to break up with running.
Now, I don't feel guilty if I "miss a run," and I can run two miles if I decide that I only have twenty minutes, or five miles if I have the time. I don't have to rearrange the rest of my life to fit in a run. I don't need to do speed work, tempo runs, long runs.
I still run on average five days a week, but I run at the MOST four or five miles (aka, the number of times that has happened this summer fits on one hand). Two days a week I just do a quick 2 mile warm up run and then focus on strength training--something I have not done regularly for a few years.
I find that now that my running is "just for me" and not for training, I generally enjoy it more. It makes me WANT to train again and work to see improvements, it makes me remember how much I love running. But it also reminds me that if I have a shitty ass jankity run that it is not the end of the world and that I will not fail running my next race.
I have three 5Ks coming up this fall, that I am really looking forward to. I will not be speedy, but I hope they will be enjoyable. For once I have no halves on my horizon, and while I am so proud of my accomplishments of completing multiple half marathons, and I think I might want to do more in my future, right now I am really just enjoying running for me.