If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I love to run, but you also know that I didn’t always do it for the right reason. I’ve written many posts about my rather tumultuous relationship with running. Yet, this past year has been all about restoring that right relationship with running, not holding it too tightly knowing that the Lord can move me onto other things, knowing that it’s so much more important for me to take care of my body in the right way, than destroying it by excessive movement. But I want you to know that this past year has been HUGE in terms of restoring that relationship with running. I love it, but I definitely don’t obsess over it like I used to; I look forward to days off from running.
I know I need to take days off from running, and I am even coming to realize that a week here or there off of running or a month off of running can be healthy. I haven’t needed to take those weeks and months off recently, but I’ve been more open to it than I used to be, by far.
I have runners who inspire me like Ellie and Sarah, who have incredible relationships with food and are so kind and caring to their bodies. These women have both taught me a LOT about running, resting, and truly doing running because you can not because you have to. These women have taught me the value of rest days. They’ve taught me the beauty of nourishment. They’ve taught me that running doesn’t equal a reason to restrict, but a reason to get out and ENJOY the world around you, and then continue to nourish like you would whether or not you’ve been running that day.
The other day, I went out on a run. I’ve hesitated to talk about where I am with running for a while, and so I haven’t talked about it. It’s been a huge process of restoring, healing, and rethinking my whole relationship with exercise because it didn’t start in the best place. I’ve pulled back, and I’ve worked on being intuitive, not pushing myself too hard, enjoying the movement God gives me, and then coming home and equally enjoying the REST.
So, I’ve been training for a race since having my period back TWICE. Can anybody hear the excitement in my voice? I’ve been much more cautious about training, eating enough, getting good sleep (still working on this one), and not stressing about what I eat.
I ran today, and it felt free. I didn’t feel like I HAD to burn a certain amount of calories.
What is the difference between obsessive running and free running?
#1) I don’t feel constrained to do a certain time or distance. I have distance in my head because I’m training right now, but if I don’t reach that I’m not going to go run 3 more miles at the end of the day to burn more calories.
#2) I’m out there because I love it, not because I feel like I have to prove my identity.
#3) I don’t really talk about my runs with others as much as I used to, because I used to derive so much value from people praising me and telling me how well I’d done. It fueled my desire to want to run more, burn more calories, and stay in shape, but it wasn’t healthy.
#4) I don’t compare my runs or my amount of running to anyone else. For a while my sister has been building up for a marathon, and her mileage is higher than mine, but that doesn’t really cross my mind. I want do what’s right for my body, and God created us SO differently, that it’s ok for me not to be running the same amount of mileage that she’s doing.
#5) I run without a watch. For me this was something I had to do, and I do not recommend or tell every other runner to do this. The fact was that I was too obsessed with the numbers, the calories, the pace, and I would make myself anxious if I didn’t reach a certain pace or amount of calories burned, and it truly took away from the joy of running.
#6) You don’t run to eat. You eat after you run and before you run, but you never think that you don’t get to eat if you don’t run. Often on Sundays, I find my body is hungrier than actual exercise days, and it seems like my body is just catching up which is wonderful. However I don’t exercise to eat. Nourishment is nourishment, and you and I both need it! God made us to need it whether or not you add an extra workout into your day.
#7) You smile a LOT more. When I was more obsessed with running, I think I was so seriously focused on all the numbers around the run that I didn’t actually enjoy the feeling of jogging along quiet country roads, the breeze on my face, the country sights and smells, the brilliance of the morning sun, but now I notice those things so much more, and it makes my soul and heart want to sing and praise God more than thinking about the fact that I’m burning calories.
That’s why I brought my other dear friend and sister onto the podcast today to talk about running and how she is healing her own relationship with running.
Jamie and I talked about:
– Learning When Running Is Becoming Your Idol
– How Jamie’s Relationship with Running Has Changed
– Why it’s So Crucial To Examine Your Relationship with Any Type of Movement
– Jamie’s Running Dreams and Why She Runs for A Totally Different Reason Now
– Jamie’s Journey of Truly Learning to Nourish Before Getting Back Into Running
– Why Running Is NOT for everybody
– Learning that Each Step is A Gift Whether It’s Walking or Running
I don’t think running is for everybody, and I appreciate especially what Kylie has written about her own relationship with it. I know there may a day when I won’t run anymore, and I don’t want to idolize it so much that I forget that God gave it to me as a gift.
I’m still figuring out that running isn’t always the thing for me, and that’s ok. I don’t run the amount of miles I did when I first started running, and someday I probably won’t be running anymore. But right now I’m learning to embrace it because I truly do love it.
Running: Love it or hate it?
What’s a form of movement you’ve had to go about restoring your relationship with?