Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Need to Know: What is the POINT?

I write this on the eve of what will hopefully be my FIRST run for the 2011-2012 season...(assuming my arm doesn't swell tomorrow!).  I've spent  a lot of self-motivation and planning on my off time.  Trying to decide:  Do I want to do a 2012 marathon?  Do I want to run 4 halfs in October?  Or...should I just take this year and have fun? 

As I try to answer these utterly important questions, I'm surrounding myself with inspiration.  I've surrounded myself with "virtual" running partners in the social media realm, downloading inspirational posters, and have done a lot of reading. Do I go minimalist shoe...or not? 

One particular article jumped out at me this week.  Let me begin by saying, I love Runner's World.  It is truly one of my favorite magazines.  They also feature a weekly inspirational e-mail and awesome Twitter/Facebook updates.  In which, I discovered this great article.  The title jumped out at me:  Get to the Point!  In the article, Megan Loftus takes us through the importance of every single run being dedicated to a purpose.   While this article is more serious that I am (really, I'm not looking to go to Boston, ever, people), it got me to thinking. 

Even when I follow a detailed plan, such as the DRC Marathon Training plan, there are some runs which make me go, "Dude, what's the point of this."  Yes, I know it's on the plan.  Yes, I know I need to maintain weekly mileage.  However, that doesn't answer the question:  What do I want to accomplish in THIS XX minute run?  Is this run to work on speed?  Endurance?  Is it to blow off steam? 

Often times I would just go run, well, because the plan said I had to.  And that was a rather empty feeling.  I'm running...I'm running....ahhh...for what?

Heeding Loftus' advice, I plan to develop an IRPP (Individualized Running Purpose Plan) of sorts.  Sorry, the special ed teacher in me just...won't...go...away.  When I get back to running, every run will have a purpose.  One day a week, the point will be to batter myself, torture myself, challenge myself.  This will be speed work.  The purpose will be to shave 5 minutes off my half time by December.  Fartleks, here I come. That will be a Wednesday run.

One day a week, the point of a run will be to enjoy the beauty of life around me. This will be my Run to Starbucks, along my favorite course, with the reward awaiting.  This is a hard run.  A hilly run.  But time won't matter.

Of course , at least one Therapy Run.  Shed stress...have a good time.  I'll take to the park, and enjoy it with Isla.  

And then, there will be The Long Run, in which the purpose is to work on my endurance. Saturdays or Sundays, depending on the soccer schedule, will be me awakening before dawn to hit the trails and run with the masses at the lake.  During these runs I must enter The Zone.  Ideally.

When you run, do you feel that you need a purpose for the run?  Or are you one of those runners who just "goes" because you felt a calling.