Goals With Deadlines Make Fun Things Suck

First of all, I absolutely love running, biking and swimming and relish a great morning activity and the all-day high that comes from experiencing an especially good one.  However, there are times when you simply are not able to get out there due to such as injuries, vacations or whatever.  When this happens, it never fails to amaze me how hard it is to get back into the schedule.  I can’t quite put my finger on what causes this but it happens every. single. time.

I recently went through another one of these droughts but this time was different.  I actually found out what was keeping me from getting back out there.

It all started last spring when I set a goal for myself to run a marathon this year.  In July, I felt like I was healthy and could soon be ready to run one. I began searching for marathons in the area but every single one was already filled.  Then I found that the Mankato Marathon in October still had openings available so I signed up.

I began training immediately.  By mid-August, I was doing 12 mile runs with ease and was about to move up to 15 and 18 milers.  Then out of nowhere, I woke up one day and was unable to run due to an ailment that I would rather not mention.  Let’s just say that I need more fiber in my diet and leave it at that. After two weeks of not running, it occurred to me that my hopes of completing the marathon could be in jeopardy.  I kept telling myself that I would just “wait another day” to see if I was ready yet.  The next thing I know, another week had gone by and I still “wasn’t sure” if I should start again.

At that point, I just decided to forget about the marathon and told myself that it just wasn’t going to happen this year.  It worked.  I woke up the next day and went out for an inaugural 3-mile run.  It felt great and I couldn’t wait to go out again the next day.  It has been five days now and I’ve managed to go running every day except for one.  Running is fun again.

The stress of the marathon was actually taking the fun out of running.  In retrospect, I’m now convinced that I was really just looking for a reason to not run the marathon.  I missed running to achieve personal bests without any set date.  The thought of being at a certain level by a certain day just took the fun out of everything for me.  I often decide mid-run if I feel like I can shoot for a goal that day.

Do I still want to run a marathon?  Sure.  However, I think I’ll just wait until I have done it on my own a couple of times before-hand.  I want it to be a routine run instead of something I have to work my way up to by a deadline.  Who knows, I might still even be able to run the Mankato 26.2 this year but it’s not something that I dwell on.  I run because it is fun and goals with deadlines simply turn it into work.