Last night I wanted to do more, to push further. I left my house in a torrential downpour with the intention of doing a 10k run. I set out, and I did it.
Mark over at StaufenRunning recently talked about wanting to push himself. He wanted to break out of his typical runs and raise the bar a little bit higher. It got me thinking that I've been too comfortable with the notion that 5k is far enough for me. I have never really thought about setting a higher benchmark to consistently hit. I'll admit, doubling a 5k run last night felt pretty good, though admittedly pretty painful. Just knowing that it is possible though, that I can run for over an hour straight without collapsing, gives me a new-found desire to push further and make that my new standard distance. I know it will take some time until I can consistently run that distance, but I now know it is possible and attainable.
I've seen a lot of training schedules that structure how far you have to run on which days and which days to rest. This is probably a good strategy if you are gunning for a race "X" days away, but honestly, I don't think I would be able to stick to a rigid schedule like that. The idea that I have to do X amount of miles on a certain day removes some of what is appealing to me about running. For me, running is about getting out and just doing it. It doesn't matter how far or how fast, just do it. I know what I have done distance-wise, and I know how fast I can do it. A training schedule won't change that. It would just give me another thing to get down on myself about if I don't progress fast enough.
It is extremely important to have something to push you to the next level. For me, it was Mark's posts about wanting to get better and push further. It made me assess where I was and what I wanted to do. It made me want to get out of my comfortable one- or two-mile runs a few times a week and set my personal bar higher, to really and truly expect more out of myself.
I lack the willpower to push myself forward constantly and strive toward my next goal without any external motivation. We talked about motivation a little bit in a previous post, and if you recall there were zombies involved. Unfortunately I don't have zombies chasing me, so I'll need to rely on my friends and family to push me to raise the bar just a little bit more. I think this blog has really helped me stay on track, given me a sense of accountability, and put some expectation on me to succeed.
Congrats on your first 10k, Jon! Just staying on your feet for a full hour is a huge milestone, and doing it in a downpour is a real testament to willpower. Keep pushing, but stay healthy, you don’t want to risk an injury by pushing harder than your body is ready to go. But increasing your miles on a regular, steady basis is definitely satisfying. I’m with you on the whole rigid training schedule thing. It takes some of the magic out of the whole process to turn it into a strict spreadsheet. But it is helpful to check out the basic idea of how the schedules work to give yourself a little structure, so you don’t get too stuck in a rut down the road. Again, congrats!