Embracing the Short Run

I consider myself to be more of a long distance runner. One of my favorite distance is 9 miles and I also took more satisfaction out of running a half-marathon and a marathon than I do running a 5k. Earlier this year, my shortest run was 5 miles. I was training for my first marathon, running thrice a week and pushing my body to where it had never been before. For a while I even looked down on anything shorter than 5 miles, it barely seemed like a run to me…

But then I stupidly hurt myself. IT Band injuries are no fun.  I first took some rest then eased back into running because I had a race coming up. I knew I wasn’t 100% but I wanted to do it. I ran a 15k and the IT Band flared up again. It was frustrating. So I took some rest again.

Then I did one of the best things I could have done for myself. It wasn’t not running. It was signing up for the RW running strike challenge. The goal was to run at least a mile every day between Memorial Day and July 4th. I can already tell you that I didn’t make it everyday. However it was exactly what I needed. The challenged allowed me to maintain weekly mileage without pushing too much and magically my IT Band issues went away. The short and easy runs seemed to be what my body needed. Just enough to stretch the muscles but not too much so as not to pull it. I was challenged to run daily and yet could decided however much or little to do.

I did pretty good the first two weeks but the combination of hot miserable weather and a slight burnt out feeling had me skip a few runs. Add on top of it a week of bronchitis where I had to totally stop and I find myself two month after my marathon with no run longer than 9 miles (and that way in May). I could be frustrated at myself. But I don’t think I failed my body. I needed the rest. I needed to find joy on the trails, I needed to be away from a training program with set mileage. Today I’m going to start to build back my long distance runs. But I’m not going to push it like crazy in the summer heat. I’m going to embrace every single short run. Because a short run is still a run and that’s all my body is asking for. Because this  has allowed me to have so many more joyful runs shared with my husband by my side.

What do you consider a short run?

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