To Run or Not To Run, That is a Stupid Question

I don’t know about anyone else, but the question of “to run or not to run” comes up every so often, in this week’s case, it had to do with muscle soreness. I took a two-weeks break and resumed training this week. My first welcome-back run felt like a lot of effort (no surprise there). My second run this week, however, was surprisingly sore. My quads felt sore for two days, which was longer than usual.

Yesterday, the “to run or not to run” question popped into my head again. Should I let the quads rest or should I just go? I laced up and went out because the Spring sunny weather of 65F was too good to pass up!

I took my time to warm up this time. And for the first time since I started practicing Chi Running, I turned off my metronome that helped with my 172 cadence. Finding rhythm from my previous run felt too hard with the metronome and a body not yet conditioned back to running. I believed that was the main reason I was unusually sore. I was trying too hard to keep up with cadence.

I also decided to push for speed, not max effort, but a minute per mile faster. That was challenging enough but fun. Fun in a sense that was different. Without the metronome beeping, I let my body find its “right” rhythm. I only focused on engaging my core and not over striding. It felt good, though I was out of breathe few 200m. Essentially, I was experimenting what felt easy, effort, and out-of-breathe.

As I’m inching closer to the one-year anniversary date of becoming a jogger, I find my running bag getting bigger and bigger with hydration belt, regular belt, heart rate monitor, arm band, etc. Now, there is a separate folder of running apps on my iPhone. Before each run, it takes a good minute to turn on all the apps to measure all sorts of “stats”. I suppose that is the evolution of “becoming serious” However, I also miss the good ole days when I just run!

Yesterday’s experiment taught me to trust my body. Without the metronome, I thought I kept the right pace (whatever that was) I woke up this morning feeling tight, but not overly tired/sore. The best part was I broke my personal best for 5K without really “trying” for it. I knew I was running faster. My out-of-breathe was very telling, much more than the beeping heart rate monitor. Plus, without all the beeping, I could relax and just run with my favorite music!

On my long run tomorrow, I will turn off my Nike+ for the “pacing voice”. The idea is to just enjoy the run, especially the long ones! Also, I want to see if I run differently without constant reminder of how much is left and how “fast” I’m running. I realized that I would not be a “competitive” runner. I run because I enjoy the “meditation” aspect of it. Therefore, there is no reason to be obsessed with all the stats. Really, it’s important to record and feel the sense of accomplishment but obsession should be focus on the mileage and the run and fun itself!


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