By: Blake Clark
Some days just need to walk. Ahhhh... I said it! I have released myself from the belief that every time I hit the pavement, I need to run my best. The reality is that there are days when my best may just be a leisurely stroll. And that is more than okay.
The last few weeks I have struggled a little with my running. The humidity is SO hot in New Orleans that my pace has slowed and I have trouble doing a run straight through without having to walk. It has made me question my ability. My times have significantly increased. And I've tried to come up with every reason in the book as to why my running times are not as stellar as they were before: "I ran doubles last week," "I worked overnight," "I didn't stretch properly," "It's too hot," "I didn't get enough sleep," "The race wore me out," or "I'm tired from weight lifting."
But the truth is, is that running has ebbs and flows. There will be times that I rock out workouts like its nothing and times that I need to pay attention to my body and take it easy. And right now I need to admit that my body is screaming at me to take it easy. I'm not hurt or anything, but it is okay to have a couple days to rest while working out. I have to make that distinction because you need days where you do rest completely with no physical activity. But you also need days where you don't push your limits. Welcome those days. Those will be the days where you are reminded how much you miss running. Those will be the days where you can really enjoy your workout. Those will be the days when you prevent injuries by allowing your muscles to heal.
So, instead of looking at the last few weeks as a failure because I wasn't running at my usual pace, I'm looking at them as an accomplishment. I was able to recognize the signs that my body was sending me and slowed down instead of trying to push myself too hard and hurting myself. Or hitting a wall and losing interest in what I love.
I think it also important to realize that I shouldn't always focus on how many calories I burned, how fast or far I ran. Rather I should be happy with the fact that I got out there. I may not have made a personal best, but I got out there and exercised. A quote I like states, "No matter how fast or slow you go, your still lapping the people on the couch."
When my body is ready, I'll start pushing myself again. Until then, I'm going to walk and relish every minute of it.
Blake Clark is a member of BGR! New Orleans. She is a "newbie" runner, and only has been running the last five months. She has a short term goal of running a marathon for her 26th birthday in January 2013. Her long term goals include documenting her journey on her blog, BeautyAgainstTheBeast.com.