Intuitive Running

runfree

Fall is upon us, bringing with it those sought after cooler running temperatures. We’re having warmer than average temperatures for fall in WI so far, but as most Wisconsinites know, that could change by the drop of a hat.

Sunday was a picture perfect fall day. Temperatures were in the 60s with a cool breeze. As I was running and inevitably thinking, I thought about how great it felt to run. I left the house, telling my husband that I was planning to go about 3 miles. As I ran though, I just felt it. That “runners high” hit me and I could compare it best to feeling like I was flying. As I thought about how far to go, I let my body be my guide. It wasn’t about a “certain number of miles.” I was concentrated on pushing myself beyond that comfortable running point.

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This got me thinking…why do we apply intuitive eating to our lives, but not intuitive running? Why not let our bodies be our guide for how many miles we do?

I have completed two half marathons, three 10ks, and one 5k, so I understand that training plans give a guide to prepare us for race day. I don’t feel I would’ve been as readily prepared for the half marathons without having a general plan. However, I often focused too much on the number of miles I needed to get in for the day/week, rather than focusing on how my body felt.

Intuition, or rather lack there of, during my half marathon training may have prepared me for race day even more. I didn’t fully listen to my body during training. I focused on the number of miles needed and that was that. I didn’t allow myself to account for the individuality of racing. We’re all different. We all have different bodies that respond to running and food differently. Therefore, just because it says to run 11 miles on the schedule, doesn’t mean it’s best. How can we then, follow training guides without putting our individual spin on them?

It felt freeing to run whatever number of miles my body was feeling on Sunday. I didn’t feel like I let myself down because I didn’t run the recommended XX number of miles. I’m not currently training for a race. Because of this, it’s taken my running to a new level. Running has {mostly} always been enjoyable, but I have found a new love and appreciation for it after running “free.”

I still wear my GPS for most runs. I still care about my mileage and speed, however, I find it doesn’t matter as much as it did when I was in training. I want to keep up my fitness and hopefully pinpoint a spring half marathon as my next goal, however, I’m enjoying just running for fun right now.

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Do you use intuitive running or are you a stickler with the training plan?

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9 thoughts on “Intuitive Running

  1. I am starting to grasp the concept of intuitive running, but I’m not quite there yet. On the one hand, it’s completely awesome b/c it’s less stressful if my body’s not feeling it. On the other hand, I’m not prone to athleticism and am still learning to push my body, so if I don’t have mileage set, I’m still pretty bad at being like, “Well my body doesn’t feel good, I’ll just stop!” I think it’ll take more running experience to be able to tune in well enough to still progress. It sure is a nice ability to master though!!

    • I definitely think if you’re still “getting your footing” (so to say) with running, it’s good to stick with a schedule to build endurance. However, once you get to that point where you’re consistent with lower mileage, it becomes more important to listen to our bodies once the higher mileage starts showing up on the schedule. Keep at it! 🙂

  2. I’m following a plan because I just got into running (Since June) and I wish I could just do your miles in that run, let alone a half marathon!
    Every time I just run until I’m tired, walk it off, and run again, I push it a bit far – because I want to be able to do miles worth. I feel if I don’t push it, I wont get better. Once I can run about 4 miles easy(ish/er) I would happily deploy that saying! Until I wanted to train for something…
    Nice post 🙂

    • It used to be a lot for me to run/walk 3-4 miles, but since I’ve been running consistently, it’s gotten much easier. I love that we can constantly push ourselves further with running. Once I got up into the high mileage and running 4 days a week, I forgot to listen to my body and focused too much on weekly mileage goals. I’m loving just running right now, no matter how far/fast I go! Good luck with your running! 🙂

  3. So true, training plans aren’t one size fits all. I usually write my own training plans for marathons, and even for my first Ironman. I ended up not hating the training, not over-training, and finishing my races. It just takes experience to know how your body reacts to certain mileage and intensity. Glad you’re enjoying fall running and not being a slave to a training plan!

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