For all the good that comes from running, just as much bad can and will occur throughout the lifetime of any given runner. There’s a universal truth when it comes to moving your earthly meat suit rapidly on foot: you’re going to experience a whole gamut of emotions, good bad and ugly.

Even the fastest people to ever run on this planet have experienced pain and disappointment and injury.

Running is an inherently dangerous pursuit. I mean when you think about it, a typical runner hits the ground with each successive stride with roughly 1.5 to 3 times their body weight!

There’s very little room for error when it comes to doing this, and many people often spend more time rehabilitating from running injuries than actually doing the thing they supposedly love so much: bouncing from one foot to the next in a straight line.

So why do so many of us do it? Why do I this? I have been thinking about this recently, as I’ve gone through various life changes and have found it difficult to get into any sort of routine or rhythm with my running or hiking. I have found that lately, whenever I think about running or plan to do it, I become anxious and frustrated.

It’s quite the paradox: running is something that infuses my body with so much positivity when I’m doing it, yet I often overthink and overanalyze the structure and function of it and spend a lot of time bemoaning what I’m not accomplishing, and less time being present with the act and reaping the benefits.

It’s quite easy to fall into the trap of over-planning and over-training your running lifestyle. I’ve run quite a few half and full marathons, and each time I did so I became obsessed on a daily basis with getting the miles in, hitting the right paces, and eating the right foods to prepare myself for the next run.

I think back to 2016 when I was preparing for a marathon, and I remember feeling burned out and tired all the time. I was getting faster and I was feeling strong as a runner, but it was a heavy burden I was placing on myself.

Following a running plan, for many people, is exactly what they need. It removes the thinking component and they just have a daily set of things to complete in order to prepare themselves for their upcoming race. For many, they think less and enjoy it more when they have a structured plan.

For me, I go through a honeymoon stage with running plans: I dive in headfirst and enjoy the heck out of it for the first few weeks, but once I have to start rearranging workouts to fit my life schedule, I get annoyed with myself and the self-loathing creeps in. A supposedly good thing (setting a goal, working towards it daily) turned into a detrimental component of my life.

One of my closest friends sent me an article written by the well-known (at least in running communities) ultra-runner Anton Krupicka the other day, and it had a lot of wisdom sprinkled throughout. 

He talked about finding peace and tranquility with running. He talked about stripping it of its labels and getting down to the basics. Here’s what he said to say: “So what am I really advising? Running. Just get out there and do it. Doesn’t even have to be that much. Just do it regularly, consistently, in all conditions.

Commit to the practice,” advised Krupicka. “It doesn’t even have to be running, just some kind of movement where you are a fully aware and engaged inhabitant of your body.”

I loved so much about those words as I read them. Particularly, the part about being engaged and fully aware. If you can’t do that basic thing, are you really enjoying it?

Because as Krupicka points out, life doesn’t always allow for us to follow a perfectly laid out schedule. Things happen. But just by getting intimate with feeling uncomfortable and absorbing strain and continuing on, you build up your own form of mental and physical resiliency. So instead of having to yearn for a numbered goal, you can move toward a stronger, more formidable SELF. That’s a goal in and of itself.

So back to me: do I enjoy running right now? No, I unfortunately do not. But that does not mean I can never get back to doing it and enjoying it on a weekly basis.

Planning for races and building my life around running doesn’t really suit me or my lifestyle. However, I do know many people that thrive and live happy lives with that kind of structure, and I applaud them. I will work with or encourage and cheer for many of those people, because I love running communities. I love the art of this beautiful movement.

But for me and my future? Building a routine centered on intuition is where I know I’ll find peace. That’s my jam. I can’t force myself to hit a long run, a tempo run, and an interval run…EVERY.SINGLE.WEEK. I thought that’s what would make me happy, and I tried my best to force those things into my life. It left me anxious and unfulfilled.


So, I’m going to move every day. I’m going to lift weights. If I start a run and I feel springy, I’ll hit some tempos. If I feel like shit and it’s a slog to move the first couple miles, I’ll turn around and come home.

 But I’m also going to continue to support clients and friends who pursue running to run faster times, procure medals, and visit cool destinations. That is still cool, and I can’t wait to watch others crush their goals.

My advice? If you enjoy running, find a way to be present and feel alive when you’re doing it. Adjust your schedule and plan if you need to. Hit races and train daily if that’s your lane. If not, move according to how your heart feels in that moment. Life is too short to do otherwise.

Does Running Build You Up or Tear You Down? A Dive Into My Own Journey
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