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Best Run Never

August 30, 2010

After about 3 days of not running in a row, something silly happens to me.

I start to feel pressure.  Not from anyone else, but just from myself.  Perhaps it is part of the comparison war, or perhaps it’s just another way my American brain has tried to excuse laziness.

Day one is a rest day, and enjoyed at that.  Day two is extended recovery.  But once I’ve laid myself to sleep with the third run-free day in a row, a switch takes place in my brain.

I feel like “getting back to running” is going to be such a chore.  After three days?  So then I put it off, again and I see the number four.  Increased excuses abound as four turns to five, then six, and then seven.

“SEVEN DAYS!?  How did it get to be a FULL WEEK since I last ran?  That seems impossible!” I tell myself.

And then I am busy. (excuse.)

And then I am sick. (excuse.)

And then I need a nap. (excuse.)

And then my running shoes won’t fit in my carry on luggage. (excuse)

And I pull a traveling all-nighter so I don’t have energy to run. (excuse)

And then I am watching LOST, eating a cookie, updating spreadsheets, riding my bike instead, attending a meet up would rather not have to do my hair all over again.  (excusesXonebillion.)


After being inspired by the many runners in Chicago, I didn’t move forward as planned.  I continued on with bike rides and walks every day, but I was letting my fear of “getting back to running” keep me from following through with my desire to hit the pavement strong. 

But after 16 days being run-free, this changed. I had had enough.  I decided that I couldn’t put it off any longer, and this past Wednesday, I ran home from work. Since then, I’ve gone on three other runs.  After each run, I feel strong, accomplished, and motivated to keep running. 

I’ve yet to feel the discouragement that used to appear after runs didn’t go as smoothly, as quickly, or as strong as I anticipated them going.  Instead, I feel thankful after each mile.  I feel empowered during each after run stretch.  I feel eager for my next run and am very excited to tackle my next race, on September 11. 


I’ve thought about this during my last two runs, and I must say that I think I owe a nod of gratitude to that 16-day break from running.  I feel refreshed and renewed, as if I’ve moved into a new season as a runner.  Although a week ago, the time off from running was a discouragement to me, causing me to make excuses and cower away from my own abilities, I truly think it has restored me.   Those sixteen days off have made me a stronger runner. Those sixteen days were the best run never.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2010 7:29 am

    I love this post! I have certainly been there where it is soooo hard getting back in my normal workout groove. You do learn a good bit about yourself through the process though. Your attitude is awesome.

  2. August 30, 2010 8:49 am

    Great post girl! Does the 5k on the 11th happen to be the one in EG (I think)? The Y series, that is? If so I’m running it too! We can be race buddies fo sho.

  3. August 30, 2010 9:29 am

    ❤ this! Sometimes you have to remember that you want whatever you are doing, running, biking, crafting, to be FUN. If it starts to feel like work, you'll dread it. Make sure you're keeping it lively by joining friends and such so you don't even know you're working out.

    I am however proud of you for getting at it! Go Heather!

  4. August 30, 2010 9:40 am

    Yay! I love that you are enjoying the run and everything that comes with it rather than feeling discouraged if it wasn’t the “perfect” run. I also love that I’m not alone in that there are definitely times when I question a run solely based on clean hair. 🙂

  5. August 30, 2010 10:35 am

    Love, Love, LOVE this post!! I especially love the title. I know that I sometimes feel guilty about not working out for a couple days, so I could totally relate. But more than I love that I can relate to this post, I adore the way you wrote it. The flow is awesome!

    I’m going to stop gushing now. How about a coffee shop date this week or next?

  6. August 30, 2010 10:45 am

    fantastic post! i’m a new runner and get discouraged easily by how damn hard it is sometimes. my best run ever came after a week-long break while on vacation. sometimes a REALLY extended rest is the best thing! thanks for the big dose of inspiration!

  7. August 30, 2010 10:55 am

    Ugh, I am going through this right now!! I was so committed in the beginning of the summer… but work has been exhausting and then vacation and school starting I have lost my mojo! I need it back!! I’m going to run after work today. Thank you for the inspiration!!

  8. August 30, 2010 11:02 am

    I love this post. And I love all of the encouraging notes to yourself. You deserve to be your own #1 fan!

  9. August 30, 2010 11:12 am

    Sometimes absence really does make the heart grow fonder…as tough as those first few miles can be after an extended rest period, I never appreciate the feeling of running or the strength of my body quite as much as I do when I’m just getting back into the groove. Thanks for the motivating post, and bravo for getting back out there and appreciating yourself for the break instead of letting the discouragement stick around. Good luck with your next race!

  10. August 30, 2010 11:21 am

    I love this post – I’ve felt that way so many times…excuses, then guilt…! I forget how amazing I feel after a run…! Thanks for talking about this!

  11. August 30, 2010 11:23 am

    I haven’t ran in almost a month due to injury and it really sucks! I know it’s going to be difficult for me to get back into the swing of things. This post motivates me to go out and try though. It’s so true that runs are always great after a brief hiatus. My best runs are when I run every 3 days weird as that sounds.

    I’m excited to hear about your race!

  12. August 30, 2010 1:13 pm

    I love your inspiration/race number boards (especially “tell your mind to shut it. tell your feet to move.”) and I love this post!! I am Captain Excuses, especially when it comes to exercise, so this really resonated with me.

  13. August 30, 2010 1:22 pm

    From the title of this post I knew I was going to love it. Those are the excuses running through my head about swimming since I can’t run now. Getting my butt back in the pool will be a refreshing thing.

    I love your race board. I feel all crafty to finally do something with my race bibs and t-shirts 🙂 #homemadechristmas2010 gift to me 🙂

  14. August 30, 2010 2:57 pm

    Good for you for doing what you needed to do. And I LOVE your race board!! So inspiring!

  15. August 30, 2010 3:29 pm

    I love “the best run never.” Sometimes no workout is the best workout of all. Whenever I truly feel like I need to rest, I take it because it always makes the next run so much better. Nice work!

  16. August 30, 2010 7:08 pm

    I love love love this post Heather!! I love your board, that’s fantastic!! Thanks for sharing this 🙂 I heart you

  17. August 30, 2010 7:37 pm

    It’s strange how being consistent with running always leaves me fearing taking a break. All of a sudden I’m then convinced that I won’t be able to run anymore or that I will hate it or it will be painful, etc, etc.

    And yet this last time of not running for me gave me the freedom to truly enjoy running again- and to see it as a gift and not an iron-clad training schedule.

    Thank goodness for finding good in the resting and the motivation to run again!

  18. August 30, 2010 9:30 pm

    See now if you would have “forced” yourself to run earlier than this, you might have gotten burnt out on running and not have had such a great time 🙂
    Great post:)

  19. August 31, 2010 9:11 pm

    Good for you! I’ve definitely been in that boat, not just with running but with anything. The more you put something off, the more distant it becomes. But sometimes it works for the best and makes you all the more motivated to start up again–as it did with you!

    So awesome and good for you for listening to your body and then using your time off as a motivation to get going again. You rock!


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