Overthinking.

16 Mar

The feeling of spring outside has me reminiscing on the good old days when I lived up in Boulder. There were so many wonderful trails to choose from. If I wanted to run by a stream, I could. If I wanted to run on dirt, I could. If I wanted to run by a crazy group of middle-aged hippies, I could.

I had one 4-mile loop that was my favorite. I even labeled the route “My favorite loop on greenway” in MapMyRun. I don’t why it was my favorite – perhaps it was because one early morning, I was just running along and thought, “This is the absolute best feeling in the world.” I can actually remember exactly where I was when I thought that. And still, there isn’t much that beats a great run in the early morning, when the sun is just peeking over the horizon, the ground is wet from dew, and the air is cool. It’s that feeling that reminds me why I’m a runner.

{That picture is surprisingly accurate for how mornings look in Boulder – maybe it was taken in Boulder?}

The thing that made those Boulder runs so memorable was that I was running just because. I decided which route I wanted to run while getting my running clothes on. I ran without a watch. I ran with a watch. I ran alone. I ran with Travis. I ran with music. I ran without. I didn’t have a purpose, or a reason, or a goal. I just ran. 

On my 4-mile run last night, I was thinking about my experience with learning to swim freestyle. I read so much about the correct technique and positioning, and tried so hard to swim “correctly,” that it actually made doing the freestyle stroke harder. Once I stopped overthinking it, though, I got the hang of it.

And I realized that I’ve been doing that with running. I’ve gotten exhausted and stressed out by constantly thinking about running form, cadence, foot strike, pace, tempo, intervals, hills, repeats, miles, training schedule, weight workouts, arm swing. Sure, I’d like to run faster, but am I willing to sacrifice my love of running to do so?

So yesterday, instead of focusing on leaning slightly forward, and maintaining a fast cadence, and running a tempo pace, I just ran. I ran comfortably fast and averaged a 10:48 pace. A good tempo run in the books.

I’ve also been overthinking recovery. Since my legs have felt so tired and heavy lately, I was starting to get worried. “Can my body not handle this mileage? Should I cut out the strength training? Did I do too many hills? Is it because I’m eating too soon before my workout and my body doesn’t have time to convert the food into fuel? Is it because I’m not getting enough sleep? Is this the beginning of the end?”

During my Tuesday night speed work with Travis, I had an epiphany: I should wear my 2XU compression pants for recovery! So I wore them to bed Tuesday and Wednesday, foam rolled an extra time, and my legs felt (almost) great yesterday! Definitely TONS better than they had been feeling. Silly me.

So I’m still plugging along with the plan. This week, I’ve done all my runs on their proper days, although the strength training has been scrapped bumped. Tomorrow, I’ll tackle 9. And instead of overthinking, I’m just going to run.

2 Responses to “Overthinking.”

  1. CultFit March 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    Great honest post!

  2. Lisa March 16, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    You have wise words Kathy. Sounds like you have been able to capture the joy in running again. 🙂 Run Happy, right?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: