I’m Not Myself When I’m Not Running

“silhouette of person standing near trees” by Nathalie Désirée Mottet on Unsplash

For many people, running is not the most favorable of activities. It’s one of those things that is often looked at as a love-hate relationship. In fact, I’m sure many people would side with hating it more.

For me, however, running is life.

So much as my family and friends are a part of my life, so is running. And when I’m not running, I just don’t feel like myself.

I recently ran my fourth full-marathon a few weeks ago. Training for it took away a good chunk of my entire year, as those of you who have trained for marathons would know.

Now that it’s over and my training has ended, I’m somewhat feeling like a bit gaping hole has entered my life.

When you think about it, it’s really kind of terrifying to know that you’ve invested so much time into something only for it to be measured in just one sole moment which culminates and essentially defines everything you’ve been working towards.

Thankfully, in my marathon case, the moment that I experienced did not disappoint. In fact, it had been a true validation of exactly how amount of work I had actually put in.

After every big race that I run, whether it be a half marathon or a full marathon, I always take an indefinite period of time-off — Time for me to rest, reflect, and recover.

During this time, I essentially just don’t run at all. Though, despite the need for that period of recovery, I never feel 100% comfortable with no longer being in a fixed routine anymore.

Imagine switching lifestyles every four to six months where for the first half of the year, you are in a very strict, completely regimented schedule and then all of a sudden, you have no schedule to abide by, and your free time opens up tremendously.

You’re suddenly free from any obligation or responsibility, free to do whatever you want with your time — At the end of it, you almost don’t know even know what to do.

It’s kind of like working on one very specific project for an extended period of time and then going on an extended vacation immediately after. It can be a bit of a drastic and somewhat unsettling adjustment, especially if you were actually enjoying what you were doing prior.

That’s what running is for me — It’s a part of who I am, it’s a part of my daily life, a part of my routine, a part of what motivates me and what keeps me going throughout many moments in my life.

And this is why I’m taking a slightly different approach this time around, and hopefully moving forward.

I’m going to eliminate that “indefinite” period of time-off and instead, give myself only a week or two off from running after big races — That’s not to say that I’m going to immediately going back into marathon training again.

Instead, what I want to do is just never fully take my foot off the peddle. I want to keep going so that I don’t lose that momentum that I had leading up the the big moment— And I hope to adopt this mindset into other areas of my life, specifically with writing (which I’ve been fairly inconsistent with lately).

And to end, don’t get me wrong. I do believe in the necessity of rest, but there is a difference between rest and idleness.

I’ve personally gone into that period of idleness which only makes it much harder to get back into your groove.

The thing is, I’m just not myself when I’m not running. I know this because when I’m not running, my lifestyle (the kind of lifestyle that know I want to lead), it changes.

Running makes me better. It makes me stronger. It makes me feel right. It’s a part of who I am. It’s my way of life.

“There is no finish line.” — Nike