Yet Another Reason to Ditch the Running Watch

I shared part of this story yesterday with my run coaching clients.  I’m starting a weekly newsletter to share shorter off-the-cuff stories like that, for a place to share all of my writing that I don’t necessarily link to here, and to share interesting reads on all the things I write about—fitness, mental health, grief, and social media/writing/business stuff. Sign up here! (I know I have some subscribers who get my posts sent to them as they go live—let me know if you’re still interested in that; I will obviously be linking to my posts in the weekly email too.)

This is how running used to make me feel.

This is not how running has made me feel these days. I’m in the midst of recovering from serious grief and depression. I’m on several medications, I’ve gained some weight, my energy levels are lower, and I’ve just plain lost some of my running fitness.

I’ve kept running, in an attempt to hang on to that part of my identity, and I’ve had a really hard time with it. I walk more than I used to. I beat myself up about the paces and the distances I go, comparing them to where I was five years ago. Guess what? Five years ago, my life looked dramatically different, and I was able and had the energy to devote a large portion of my mental and physical energy to running in a way I don’t have the capacity for right now.

But when I run with a friend, I forget all that. I forget that my current pace is at least two minutes slower than a pace I used to be able to hold for 13.1 miles. I forget that I’m going rarely more than 4 miles (if that), rather than the 20-mile long runs I used to do on summer weekends.

I had a long conversation the other night with a fellow running coach about this comparing ourselves to younger, more fit versions of ourselves. I wanted to figure out a way, solo, to replicate that feeling of getting out of my head when I’m chatting with a friend, and so I set out yesterday with my Apple Watch set to “other,” rather than logging it as a run that would log my pace and distance. That is, I took the numbers out that stress me out, and I came back elated (endorphin-wasted, even!)

If a client had described the same situation/problem to me, I wouldn’t tell them they were fat, out of shape, etc—why was I telling myself that? I’d tell them to be gentle with themselves, and to take out the component that was stressing them out that they could control—in this case, numbers—to get their running mojo back. Time to be my own client. (How does this work? Do I pay myself? That’d be weird.)

How do YOU get your running mojo back?

Just a quick note to say that this Sunday was the one-year anniversary of losing my mom.

I survived this first year!!! The actual day went so much better than I expected. I’ll write more about that and what I’ve learned over the past year (so, so much) soon, but I need some time to process it a bit more. In the meantime, thank you so much for your support over this year—it truly means everything to me.)

 

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