on preventative care
Posted on May 25, 2017
Thursday 25 May 2017
Start time: 7:23am
My legs are sore, particularly the side of my left knee. It feels like I have aged many years in a short amount of time. I know this is indicative of IT band stress, and I should use my foam roller more, get a massage, ice, Advil, etc., but honestly the idea of those things fills me with resentment. Why must I do these things, which are so much less enjoyable than the act of running itself, just to be able to get out there and do this thing that is very natural for my body to do? Maybe running is not natural, which is why running skeptics say things like, “it’s so hard on the joints,” and “you guys look so haggard,” and “where are your toenails?” It’s also frustrating to know that comparatively, I don’t run that much. I know, ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ and whatnot, but I’ve been running 35 miles per week, which is the bare minimum for someone with my amount of experience and my marathon goals. I know some people who specialize in 5ks for whom 35 miles per week is akin to chilling out on the beach. It’s so little! And yet, I start to break down.
So, preventative care is in order, and also writing more often, which is preventative care against going insane.
How do you push through those moments when you start to feel bored and tired and a bit broken by your routine? Right now, I’m not happy with running. It’s not that fun. I want to keep up the mileage because I want to be a better runner. The continual motivation comes from a few different sources:
- I’m always glad afterwards. I’m able to override a bit of unpleasantness in exchange for the chance to be outside, spend time with runner friends, and get an endorphin fix.
- I keep the big picture in focus, knowing that the individual runs are important, but are also in service of other goals, such as steady improvement and building a lifetime of running.
- Keeping a healthy habit is a way of showing up for myself. It’s an identity stabilizer – a part of me that now feels ancient and wise. It reminds me that whenever a menacing cloud or robust wind appears, I will not lose myself in it.
- I take two rest days every week. It’s important to find ways to relax and free the mind that aren’t related to running. Rest days challenge dependency on the activity – the idea that you need to run to feel good. Rest also helps rebuild your excitement for the next run. Scarcity = greater demand.
Because I have deep and meaningful reasons to run, I’m not worried about quitting running or taking too much time off. But I also need to get stronger and more flexible and stay healthy and keep my joints fresh. I want to be happy with running again, want to inject more lightness into it. So, while the miles won’t diminish much, I need to simply add more time in my schedule for preventative care and for different activities, whether it’s walking, swimming lifting weights, or yoga. I need to look at my resentment and understand the twin fears of weakness and trying new things that lie just beneath it. I’m not as intimately familiar with yoga and ice packs, but eyewitnesses report those things do feel good afterwards, too.