I find that in my running groups, both in real life and through social media, runners get caught up in the numbers game. How far and how fast and then how much further and faster. Don’t get me wrong, improvement is awesome, motivating and what keeps us going! However, I’ve found that sometimes my greatest gains come from changing up the routine and mixing it up. When I go for an epic long run up a mountain or through a canyon, it’s more than just a numbers game. It’s about the experience and whom I am sharing this with. Stopping… and just taking in the view or listening to the stillness can be missed if you’re just worried about getting to the top or to the end of your workout.
Last year was the first year I left my comfort zone of the marathon distance and dared to venture a little further…a 50K. I was so nervous, but figured that I had nothing to lose since I had never done one before and the terrain was apparently very challenging which meant that I wasn’t expected to finish it in record time. I just needed to finish it!
Well, leaving my comfort zone was the best thing I could have ever done! I ended up finishing as the first place female! I was now hooked on this distance, by the way! One month later, I ended up running a double crossing of the Grand Canyon! An unforgettable experience, for sure!
Two months after running these longer trail distances I went on to run my fastest marathon! I was having so much fun running in beautiful settings and not worrying so much about my pace and I was feeling great! It was boosting my confidence and I felt like I was running for my soul! It was a nice change from running flatter and on asphalt or concrete!
So, I still put in plenty of miles on asphalt out of convenience, but I do take some time out of my training to have some memorable and enjoyable runs. These are usually on trails running up and down mountains, with unforgettable vistas and challenges. Or sometimes, it’s just about changing it up and having some fun running in my favorite canyon, Sabino Canyon.
When our desert gets a little rain, the bridges overflow which can make for a fun run in this little gem of a canyon. It’s an excuse to get a little wet and have a lot of laughs! So, if you’re feeling like your training is wearing you down or if you’re dreading your next long run…don’t be afraid to change it up a bit. Find that joy of running again and don’t let yourself worry about the whole numbers game! Think about why you started, what you’ve gained, and where you want your training to take you. Put the fun back in your run and you’ll see that you have much to gain. Not just in your running, but all the way down in your soul!
It’s Fun Having Fun on the Run!