Why I Am Running Less – And Okay With It

In my early running days (if I can even say that as a runner of 6 months), I ran with the mindset that more mileage was the most important factor to seeing progress. It was still very much a novelty and its benefits were both numerous and impactful in several areas of my life. 

Running gave my life purpose. This goal to BQ has given my life purpose. – Best Foot Forward Podcast – Episode 3 

After I took up the sport, I instantly felt stronger, more confident, and my progress was constant and apparent. I quickly became content with covering more and more miles, in faster average paces.

  • February: 7 runs, 5’55/km, 19km
  • March: 10 runs, 5’36/km, 33km
  • April: 17 runs, 4’57/km, 89km
  • May: 20 runs, 4’38/km, 133km
  • June: 25 runs, 4’28/km, 200km
  • July (on pace): 23 runs, 4’23/km, 183km

It is clear, I am on pace to record fewer clicks than in June. Considering the rise of my workload (achieved both through the  volume and quality of my running), it would be easy for me to feel disappointed with my lower numbers in July.

When I observe my results, I notice that most of my runs are around 4’44/km in July, with the speed and interval runs bringing the average down to what it is in total.

Part of my preparation for BQ has been in recovering my body. I am learning the true meaning of rest days and why runners do recovery runs. I am coming to understand what a recovery run is and isn’t. Before, I always wanted to be faster. It seemed like I set a new PR every week for the first 8-10 weeks of my training. It was hard not to – and it was also addicting. I credit the rapid rise of my performance with getting me hooked on running in the first place.

I didn’t go through it unblemished. I started noticing that I had been overtraining, and developing stinging pains in my hips. I even had to go home from work an hour into my shift one time because of a hard run I did that morning.

As I observe my training schedule for this week, the low mileage that once would have been totally disregarded and ignored is now a section of the journey that I am embracing. My next true “goal” race, the Ottawa Army Run Half Maration,  is in 9 weeks. It’s a long road to get there. Rest days or ones with lighter workloads are key for maintenance and muscle recovery.

As I am maturing as a runner, I am reading literature on the subject to improve my ability to prepare for BQ. I have learned that rest days are misunderstood for days spent doing nothing. Doing nothing is never an option.

I would categorize rest days as maintenance days. This is the time to perform some light cross training or strength exercise to tone and rebuild muscles. It’s a time to do some extra stretching, slam the foam roller, get a massage, sit in a sauna, sand and moisturize your feet, or have a bath with Epsom salts.

I can’t feel guilty for not running when I fill my day with these activities.


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