This year has been amazing for me as a runner. Perhaps ironically, the lack of ambitious running goals has made this year far more pleasing to my spirit than last year, in which I pushed myself all year long (until I finally stopped, taking all of December off and starting my healing process).
Two days ago, I ran nine miles for only the second time all year. You read that right– was only the second time where I ran over eight miles. I emphasize this point because the previous three years I ran many, many weekend long runs (which I will define as 10 or more miles). In fact, here are my numbers over the past four calendar years (2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 so far):
|Year||# Long Runs |
|Total Miles||Avg. Monthly|
|2020||22||1350||113||Ran my first three 20 milers|
|2021||32||1489||124||Ran two marathons (solo and CIM 2021)|
|2022||25||1352||113||Wisely got off running treadmill (eventually), didn’t run all of December, still managed second most miles of any year.|
|2023||0||492*||70||Have kept it nice and mellow, with easy-going 20+ mileage weeks…. but 0 long runs 🙂|
As you can see, I ran a lot of long runs in 2020, 2021, and 2022. In fact, in 2021–my “marathon year“–I ran thirty-two of them. That means that I ran long runs over half of the weeks of the year. This isn’t surprising, given that I trained for two different marathons. But still–intense!
Last year, it’s as if I was aiming to equal my 2021 numbers: despite only doing one marathon training, I still managed to run twenty-five long runs! Now, there’s nothing wrong with this in theory, but I know now that I wasn’t truly listening to what I needed, which was to back off from the intense training. It took me all year long to get the message.
This year is a different story. Looking at the table above, I’m really quite proud of that zero under long runs for 2023. To me it is an accomplishment of self-care, an accomplishment of paying attention to myself.
It’s not that I’m not running. I have been running twenty or more miles each week for the last four-and-a-half months. But I haven’t been pushing it. I have been paying attention to myself.
Doing it mellow is working.
*Through July. I will likely hit about 1000 miles this year. Another slow-and-steady accomplishment.