Saturday, February 8, 2014

The purpose of the workout

"and everything seems cut and dry
day and night
earth and sky
somehow i just don't believe it"

Soul Asylum

I've been eagerly anticipating this run all week.  My Saturday long run.... a time for restitute.  But here I am running alone in the middle of a cow pasture .  My shoes are caked with 5 lbs of mud and I find myself distinctly grumpy.  "What am I getting out of this?" I ask myself grudgingly.  Is this doing me any good at all? 

As an athlete, I've always been told that every run has a "purpose" and that I should think about that purpose as I set into my workout for the day.  Coaches throw out  scientific jargon like  "VO2 Max" and  "lactate threshold" so that we can understand how each workout makes us run stronger, longer and faster.  However, the more I run, the more I've come to see that for me, the purpose of many runs is more ethereal than physical.  I've become much less methodical and I've started to listen to what my body and mind really need.

Sometimes the purpose of a workout is to push through your limits, building mental toughness and confidence; but some days we are taught humility and respect.    I'm grateful for hours on the trail when I turn into the student- listening and learning from others; and for days when I am supposed to slow down to be the companion, or teacher.    I feel pumped when the adrenaline is flowing and my lungs are screaming; and excited when I hit a personal best. 
There are days when no matter what's written on our schedule our bodies tell us to back off; and times when that short recovery run turns into 15 miles of a much needed escape.

I finish at the trail head with a mile left to go. Damn. I'm hungry and I really want to call it a day,  but I head up the road for a half mile more then turn around and come back-  because today is about finishing what I started. 
I never know what tomorrow's run will bring,  but what I DO know is that if I don't understand the purpose today, it is sure to unfold to me at a later time. 

1 comment:

  1. Run happy, or do not 😊 ps: whatever feeling happy is the call for the day