Your main motivation is running for running’s sake – you like how it feels and how it makes you feel afterward. You might race, you might not. Running is part of your routine; it makes you feel complete. How far and how fast you run is based more on how you feel that day, your perceived needs, how nice of a day it is, and your surroundings. You hope to run a decent amount pretty much every day for the rest of your life. “Purists are most adept at ‘mindfulness,’ or just running without judgement,” says Udewitz. “They are more likely to base their rhythm and pace on their strong attunement to internal states. They are also able to be flexible and notice elements external to themselves.
GET MOTIVATED You probably don’t have a problem with this, but if you do, picture yourself at your favourite part of your course for that day, running comfortably, feeling great. Also, remember how much better you’ll feel for the rest of the day once you’ve run.
LEARN FROM OTHERS From exercisers: discover other satisfying forms of activity. You’ll appreciate having a backup when running isn’t possible, and you’ll be more rounded as an athlete and a person.
ENJOY YOUR RUNNING MORE Allow yourself to take rest days. Listening to your head (“I want to run”) and ignoring your body (“I could use a break”) will detract from the pleasure of the experience. Regularly do yoga or other meditative exercises that reinforce the mindfulness you enjoy in running and strengthen your mind and body so you can enjoy a lifetime of running.
AVOID TROUBLE Don’t fall so in love with running that you become too tired for the rest of your life. You need your running to be a special part of your day, not a compulsion.
COPE WITH INJURY Tell yourself there will again be a time when you’ll be on your favourite route and able to enjoy the simple act of running.
READ Running and Being, by George Sheehan; The Runner and the Path, by Dean Ottati; Lore of Running by Timothy Noakes
BUST OUT OF A RUT You might run your easy days too hard, because once you get going, you want to feel in the zone. If you care about performance, however, you need to greatly vary the intensity of your runs instead of letting everything meld together into not-fast-enough-for-a-work out/not-slow-enough-for-recovery-days.
RUN FOREVER Don’t allow running to become an obsession. Accept your body’s need for a break and use other activities to help you stay fit and appreciate your running even more. Be willing to heed your body’s warnings and back off when necessary so that you don’t develop a chronic, debilitating injury.