The Weight of “Should” & “Should Not”
|August 19, 2011||Posted by Lauren under LifeontheRun, Running|
Such a simple little word, but lately it’s one I’ve been struggling with (along with it’s close cousin should not). I know I’ve probably gone through phases in life like this before. When “should” and “should not” consume the majority of my thoughts. But at the moment it just feels particularly bad.
I should be running more miles.
I should be running faster.
I should be more consistent with my morning runs.
I should be doing more tempo/speed workouts.
I should not be feeling so tired.
My body should not already be this run-down.
This run should not feel so hard.
My legs should not feel so terrible.
I should be in better shape than this.
All of those thoughts have been swirling around my head on every run/workout since Sunday’s seventeen. Who knows where they come from. Or why I feel as though I should be doing any of them. Logically, I know it’s all so silly. But I’m not always the most logical person when it comes to my running.
The problem is that despite taking a day of complete rest on Monday followed by a day of cross training on Tuesday, my runs have not really improved. My legs feel like lead; my body feels tired. So incredibly tired. While walking the dog this evening, I seriously could have just sat right down on the littered sidewalk and not gotten up for the rest of the night. Unfortunately the more I feel like this, the more I just try to fight it, because I’m convinced that there’s no reason why I should be feeling this way.
To make matters worse, the should’s and should not’s have started to spread from my running into other areas of my life as well.
I should be saving more money.
I should call my family/friends more often.
I shouldn’t complain about my job when I’m lucky enough to even have one.
I should have my life figured out by now.
Pointless thoughts that only serve to add to my stress. I know that it’s dumb and not productive to think this way. That running is running and I’m making it more complicated than it has to be. That everyone has things in life that they could be, that they should be doing better, and that I’m doing the best I can with where I am right now. The problem is, as I’m sure you’ve all experienced, knowing something in your head doesn’t always mean believing it in your heart.
I have a relay coming up. And it should be fun. The adventure of a lifetime. But as this week goes on, my excitement has been clouded by a series of really bad runs. Runs that don’t make sense. My mileage is not that high. My pace is not that fast. My training not that intense. I’ve run for enough years to know that I should not be freaking out about this. That one bad week does not a training cycle make. That sometimes, for whatever reason, running sucks. I’m just afraid that it seems to suck more often than usual these days.
If I were talking to anyone else in this position, I would tell them to stop stressing. I would tell them to listen to their body, rest up so that they could attack their training next week, and do well in their upcoming races. But I don’t always listen to my own advice. Even though I should.
Instead I just reason with my body. I try to tell it how to feel and how to behave. How’s that working so far, you ask? Well, truth be told…it’s not. Because sometimes things just don’t work the way we think they should.
Normally with a post like this, I’d try to share some sort of positive message. Some sort of awesome lesson I’ve learned or new outlook I’ve gained. But real life isn’t as clean and tidy as I would like blog posts to be. And so I don’t have anything great to share. I know I’ll get past this. I know that running ruts don’t last forever, and next week when I’m running along the Oregon Coast (hopefully) all this will be forgotten.
I also know that when things are stressful in other areas of my life, I often feel the effects of that on my runs. And there are lots of life-things happening right now that are outside of my control. A control-freak like myself’s worst nightmare. Finally, I suppose there’s a chance I could be a tad bit burned out. Because even though my mileage isn’t all that high (comparatively speaking), I have been doing a lot of races recently. In fact, in this last year, I’ve done more races than I have in any year since graduating from college. And although I love racing, and I do many of them for “fun” (sort of), maybe this is just my body’s way of saying that it’s time to take a step back.
But whatever the reason, right now I’m just weighed down by all the “should’s” and the “should not’s.” Which, in case you were wondering, doesn’t actually make running any better. Funny how we runners can be our own worst enemies sometimes.
Ultimately, I know something needs to change with my training – I’m just not exactly sure what. So if you’ve made it this far, thank you. I apologize for a negative post on this Friday morning. And if you’ve read it and feel like rolling your eyes and shrugging this off as big, fat #firstworldproblems, that’s okay too. I’ll be the first to admit this entire thing is a little whiny, and I debated whether or not to even post it. But in the end, I figured it’s better to be real. I love running. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t really hard for me sometimes.
Plus, writing it down can be a good reality check and a way to get over yourself, right?