Running with an attitude of gratitude

On my drive home from the ballpark, I was listening to the podcast How Was Your Run Today? Co-host Peter was explaining why he was backing out of a September ultra in Vermont. He really wants to do an ultra, but this just didn’t seem to be right time for him for a bunch of reasons. But what I kept thing about was this:

Challenging goals are great. But if they’re not inspiring passion in you, then maybe those aren’t the goals you’re supposed to be chasing at this moment.

I mention this because I, too, needed a mental shift in my running goals. What was I passionate about? Because trying to get my speed back during half marathon training this summer was not cutting it. I’ve struggled with this notion of setting time-based goals because it seems like everyone else on the planet who runs sets time-based goals. It’s understandable that we like to quantify our goals. Measuring is how we keep focused, stay on track, and know whether we’ve obtained our goal or not.

But there’s got to me more to running goals than my average pace, right?

So I’ve started to tweak my training plan, which is one I found while surfing the internet for training plans. Which means there’s nothing uniquely AmyMo about it. Which means I should tweak it because what works for one person may not work for me. Hell, I’ve learned that what worked for me last training cycling may not work for me this training cycle. Life is fun that way.

For this particular long run, I decided to change the way I talked about it to myself. I don’t have to run 10 miles. I get to run 10 miles.

That was a game-changer for me.

In my own life, I know people who can’t run 10 miles because of injury, illness, or life circumstance. They would love to be able to run 10 miles. They’d love to be able to run 1 mile. I can remember a time when running the entire length of a Britney Spears song was a personal triumph. Ten miles? Never thought that would happen.

So I took an attitude of “I get to” into my run. An attitude of gratitude. Whatever happened at the end of my run, whatever my watch said was my time and average pace, was insignificant. Whenever the run started to feel hard, I took a deep breath and looked around. I said “thank you” to the universe for giving me a beautiful summer day, for giving me the ability to run and to challenge myself. I did this frequently and the frequency increased as the run progressed. And while there’s nothing easy about 10 miles, the run felt lighter than any I’ve done recently. It felt like a joyful prayer rather than an obligatory sludge.

This is my new running goal for my fall half marathons — to run with gratitude. I’ll follow my passion of the moment and see where it leads me, trusting that I will end up right where I need to be.