Running Joyfully

This year one of my goals was to run a spring marathon and a fall marathon. So, in December 2021, I signed up for Eugene Marathon, which is supposed to take place on May 1st, 2022. I have spent this year training for Eugene Marathon, building up mileage. I built it up to 36 miles per week. In March, I started noticing that I wasn’t recovering well. I changed my training routine, slept more, and ate nutritious food, but my performance plateaued, and I was constantly fatigued. I knew if I continued, I’d be either overtrained or will get injured. I have had both in 2021 and they put my training back instead of moving it forward. I realized the worst part of it all would be that I would lose the feeling of running joyfully.

Overtraining Symptoms

This time when the symptoms of overtraining came, I could recognize them right away. Some of the overtraining symptoms for me were.

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Legs felt heavy and tired
  • Problem staying asleep
  • Facial acne
  • Hormonal imbalance

I decided against racing Eugene Marathon. I have never given up on a race unless I am injured. When I made the decision, I was sad. I thought I had failed somehow.

One of the reasons I pulled out from the race was the concern about an injury or overtraining, but the main reason I decided against it was because I was starting to lose the joy in my daily runs. I love this sport and want to continue running for years to come. I knew the only way to do that was to bring back the joy of running in my life.

You want to keep the joy in running if you love this sport.

I started to struggle mentally, dreading the workouts. I had put so much pressure on myself to improve my pace. I knew I didn’t want that. This sport has always brought me happiness and I wanted it to stay that way. Looking at my training logs, I knew I needed more training time to have a stronger running body. Specifically, I need speed endurance which will take some time to develop.

For the past two weeks, I have been running just to have fun. Reconnecting with the joy of running without any pressure of a race where I’m trying to get better has brought the experience of running joyfully back to me. I am running races but just to enjoy the experience of racing. With each mile I run I am grateful for what my body does. I celebrate small victories. My body has surprised me with some fast-paced runs, when I’m not even trying to go fast. See my Starva screenshot above.

How to Discover Running Joyfully

I am enjoying my recovery days and enjoying every minute on the road. Instead of obsessing about the future and stressing that I’m not fast enough. I am focusing on small changes like improving my form, improving my breathing, and improving nutrition.

I have learned from this experience that sometimes you hit low moments along your journey. It’s always a good idea to look back and see if you are still finding joy in your journey. If not, try to bring the fun back by renewing your commitment.

Now when I run, I run in the mile I’m in. I try to find peace and tranquility in each mile. I am glad I have found the joy of running again.

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About the Author

Aesha Tahir is a health and wellness coach and a certified personal trainer. She holds a Master’s degree in Applied Exercise Science and is certified by the NASM as a Personal trainer. She is a certified USA Track and Field Running Coach and Road Runners of America Coach. She is a 200-HR Registered Yoga Teacher. She is also a group exercise instructor specializing in barre, spinning, strength training, boot camp, and yoga classes. She has over five years of experience in the fitness and wellness arena with focused expertise in coaching, corrective exercise and injury prevention, individualized fitness programs, and group fitness programs. She is also an aspiring public speaker in the fitness and wellness world who believes in this quote; “To be inspired is great, but to inspire is incredible.”

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