Running vs Training

How many of you all agree that there is a big difference between running for leisure or exercise and training for a race? Let me explain. While training for my half marathon, I started to feel like the training was a part-time job. I was constantly scrutinizing everything I ate, tracking how intense my workouts were and comparing my times. After a while, the idea of training overwhelmed me and I really felt like I started to develop a mental barrier. I remember laying in bed on a Friday night trying to mentally prepare for my Saturday morning long run. “10 minute pace...” I remember telling myself before I drifted off to sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against training, I see it as a necessary evil. But, there is a certain joy I get from running for fun and just exercise. Here are the biggest differences I noticed between running for leisure and training for a race. 1. Proper training requires you to keep up with your runs, i.e. pace and distance. 2. Time is everything…Either you are training to run a faster race or a longer race at a target pace, etc. 3. When I’m training, I am a lot more cognizant of my diet. I usually don’t drink alcohol or eat greasy food the night before a long run, because I’ve noticed that those two things affect my performance the most. This sucks because my long runs are on Saturday morning and I’m usually out with friends on Friday night. 4. Attitude – I take running a lot more seriously when I’m training. When I am not training, my runs are stress free. If I feel like running fast, I do. If I want to stop and walk or watch a turtle cross the street, I do. When I am not training, I am just excited to be out running and burning calories. 5. Lastly, when I train, I am constantly listening to my body. The slightest pain in any limb, and I’m immediately troubleshooting and trying to figure out why I am hurt. Any other time, I haven’t really been injured and I more apt to take a day off when I am injured, without worrying about how it’s going to affect my training. Am I the only one who feels this way? How do you balance running for pleasure vs. training? Are you considered a “real” runner is you don’t participate in races?


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