We have nothing to fear . . .

. . . but fear itself

Or do we?

fear

Striking the balance in training
Running is such a simple sport: one foot in front of another, at whatever pace you want. Except every runner knows it isn’t really as simple as it appears to the non-runner, even when it doesn’t appear simple to the non-runner.

There are a lot of runners out there who run because they simply love to run. They don’t care about their pace and they don’t care if they race or not. I’d like to say running really is simple for them, but even for the non-racing runner, it’s still not simple.

The truth is that runners are prone to injury. Running is good for you, no doubt about it, although you will never be able to convince the non-runner. Our ancestors may have run on a regular basis, but they didn’t generally run marathons every week, and they certainly didn’t pound the pavement.

So let’s all agree: it’s the rare runner that doesn’t end up on the injured list at some point in their life.

Injuries are not only a physical question, which is the most important thing, of course, but also a question of your mind. If you’re thinking: “I’m not going to make it”, “I can’t cope”, “It hurts”, “It’s never going to get better”, then it won’t.
— Luis Suarez

Once you’ve been injured, there’s always a little doubt in the back of your mind: is that little ache my injury returning, or worse yet, a new injury? Should I slow down, run less, run fewer days so I can keep running injury free?

Is the payoff worth it?
I hear it a lot: the point of racing is to have fun. I agree; what’s the point of doing things that aren’t fun? Of doing things that can injure you that aren’t fun?

So some runners play it safe. It’s not that they don’t race hard, but they’re afraid of injury, and maybe they don’t push themselves as hard as they are capable of. I’m quite sure I have fallen into this category on more than one occasion.

If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
— Dale Carnegie

Their thought process is that they don’t want to leave it all on the pavement and then be unable to run due to injury. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Of course, some runners — again, no doubt including me — ignore the warning signs that fear can give us, and push too hard and then, of course, it’s no longer fun.

The case for pushing yourself
Every time I lace up and go out for a long run, often on my own, good or bad, there’s a certain satisfaction in knowing that I am able to run 5, 8, 10, 12 miles. As I ran my 12 mile long run last weekend I thought to myself this is a long way. And it is (although maybe not to the marathoner or ultra runner).

In this particular training cycle, I have worked with Rachel @ Runningonhappy and she has pushed me to run harder than I have in a few years. I won’t say it isn’t scary at times. The last time I did run this hard, working with an online running community, I felt strong, I felt ready . . . and neither of my halfs went well (one due to unseasonable heat, which of course is beyond anyone’s control); the other due to injury, yes.

The same runners who are content to err on the side of caution often also say that they run to challenge themselves. Or that they have learned through running that they are capable of hard things.

You don’t know how hard you can go until you try to go hard. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, sometimes you will fail. Yes, you may even injure yourself and not be able to run for a while.

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

You may also surprise yourself. You may just give yourself a little burst of confidence. You may grow as a runner.

There is no right or wrong way to train . . .
. . . only the right or wrong way to train for you. I hope I’ve given you some food for thought today. I’m not necessarily looking to change the way you train, but I hope today, at some point, you’ll think about it, and decide if it’s serving you well.

There is a fine line between letting fear paralyze you, and ignoring its warning signs and pushing too hard. It’s a difficult line to run.

Do you think you push to hard? Or do you think you let fear hold you back?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tor-box

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

coachescorner

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35 thoughts on “We have nothing to fear . . .

  1. Judy, great message for runners. The stigma that running causes injuries especially with age is one to be contested! I aim to be that 80-year-old runner crossing the finish line at a local 5K (okay, so I have to hold on to that goal for 40 years, but, hey, why not?). When you put it all together–every goal, every race, every workout–it’s about lifelong health and fitness. I applaud your enthusiasm. If you’d like to read a poem about running, check out my site!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes when I have little aches and pains I feel like I I may have pushed myself too much. So I do take a day or two off and usually I am fine then. Last time I just needed a new pair of sneakers. Why does those nagging pains always seem to arise close to your race?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, I really wish my nagging aches disappeared with just a couple of days of rest. Rarely the case.

      I think I usually have a pretty good read on what is a nagging ache, and what needs more attention. At least I hope so!

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    1. I have a whole variety of aches and pains that like to appear & disappear, but I’ve actually been rather lucky in the injury department (as in almost none that actually stopped me from running).

      I’m pretty cautious by nature.

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  3. Great post Judy and something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Unlike my sister, I do not push. I was becoming a strong runner before my injury and now finally being injury free (after 18 months) I do NOT want to go back there. I know I get the same medal as everyone else and I am just as happy to just participate in an event! -M

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess I’ve been lucky. I’ve never suffered an injury that took me out that long. It does seems like there’s ALWAYS something aching, though . . . I didn’t even know what I was going to write about when I sat down, but then that just popped into my mind. I don’t know why.

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  4. My goal for running is to have fun, meet new people, stay fit, active and healthy. That being said, I do not push myself hard. I try in a race to do my best but don’t put in the effort needed to get faster.

    Of course I want to be faster but not enough to obsess about it and plan all my runs about it. Many runners do and that’s ok for them.

    So I guess I’m lucky to have decent speed (I’m not fast by any means but you know speed is relative.) without much effort.

    I want to run a long time more…without those nagging aches and pains. I think I can if I don’t push myself so hard. We’ll see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You may not be elite, but you’re pretty speedy especially when you look at the age graded thing.

      I want to run a long time too. But I also like to push myself. Within reason. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s reasonable, though.

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  5. I definitely let fear hold me back. I’ve made progress with my knee, but I’m always fearful I’ll do something to make it worse again. I’d like to get to that point where the fear can eat my dust.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d like to get to the point where I don’t feel the need to tape my knee. At all.

      I haven’t taped my good knee this training cycle — I’ve never really had problems with it, but I’ve felt a little twinge occasionally. It was fine during my 12 mile run, but then again, it was so cold, who really knows, LOL?

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  6. That’s the beauty of running. The more we do it, the more we learn about our body and what kinds of training it responds best to. The only time I had fear about running was when it was already 75 degrees with 90% humidity at 5am before my first marathon. I feared I wouldn’t handle the conditions adequately. Since that day, I know I can handle anything. No fear here. Do I push too hard? Sure. If you don’t push you never know what you’re capable of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, I think I would’ve bailed if that had been my first marathon. Probably not, but I don’t know if I would’ve finished it.

      Humidity & I are just not friends, especially when it comes to running.

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  7. It always irks me when people say “running is bad for your ….”. People seem to think running breaks down your body but I feel like it makes you stronger. Sure, you might get an injury, but that can happen with any sport or activity.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a really great post. I waffle between pushing too hard and just running for fun. For me, it seems to go in cycles. Two years ago I was all about pushing hard and running for PRs. Last year I just wanted to have fun. This year I’m hungry for PRs again.

    I’ve also found the more I run, the more I can tell what’s a niggle and what’s a potential injury. I think you’re at that point as well. You know when to dial it back and when to keep pushing. Almost to single digit countdown. You’ve got this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. UT will be more about fun & taking in the scenery (not that I don’t try to do that in every race).

      I’ve been to NOLA before, at least, but it was for work so I didn’t get to see as much as I wanted to.

      I have had more than one occasion when some injury really popped up out of the blue in my taper. But mostly I think I have learned my body fairly well.

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  9. Since I have fallen so frequently in recent years, that is certainly on my mind as I run. I think with smart training we can reduce the risk of injury. If you push hard one day, you need to take it easier the next. Listen to what your body is telling you, don’t run hard all the time, and you have a better chance of staying healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, way too many people run hard all the time! I like my rest days & my easy runs. 🙂 Running hard doesn’t come naturally to me.

      I haven’t fallen much while running, and so far, knock on wood, I’ve been very lucky not to truly hurt myself.

      Plus I have a chiro appt tomorrow anyway. 🙂

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  10. I have often wondered whether I push myself hard enough when training. I have had injuries in the past but thankfully I don’t think that’s necessarily holding me back. It’s great to work with a coach and have them push you past your limits.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love this post. It definitely gives me some food for thought!

    When I ran my first half this year, I wasn’t properly trained but I went for it anyway, and tried to listen to my body. I wasn’t able to run as much of it as I wanted, but I finished in a better time than I thought I would. It’s incredible what our bodies are capable of! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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