What I learned this year about trail running/running Pt 2


So in the last post I talked about how I figured out what trail running was to me and how I do it. I also explained my attempt to figure out how I would teach it in my groups. So how did it go?

I had 2 groups this spring which could have been one large group but that would have been wrong. Why? Different paces and different goals for different runners. I think the basic idea of any running is you want to feel good about yourself. You want to come away from most runs with a feeling of accomplishment. You set your goals just beyond your fingertips and then you reach. Once grasped then move them slightly further away and so on and so on. This doesn’t mean that you are always looking to run faster and faster still or longer and longer more. We have limits and we have insight. We learn what we can do and imagine what what is possible. Sometimes satisfaction comes from effort and sometimes it comes from results. On most days it should also come from just the fact of being out there running and enjoying that. Results often are the cause of much dissatisfaction but effort never should be. I come away from every race with the belief that I did the best I could on that day and knowing I couldn’t have done any more. I give everything I have every time out. So I am pretty good resisting the after race temptation to think “IF only I had ran faster”. Somehow I wish I could convince myself of the before race thought that “I can only do my best and the result will be what it will be”. Nope, can’t do it, time to throw up from race anxiety.I wasn’t always this way and it is getting worse. I feel a great deal of pressure, from myself, to run a great race. The pressure I put on myself doesn’t help, I want it to go away and I am uncertain to what end that I do this to myself. I try to breathe and say all the right things and then it comes on like a wave. Do I enjoy my daily runs? Yup most days, like most people. Do I enjoy racing? Yup, all the parts except the few hours before. I guess knowing something doesn’t always mean that you can put that knowledge to use. I know that effort is what we can control and results are something we can’t. There are times when I go to a race thinking that “Hey I should be able to finish in the top….” but obviously I can’t control that at all. Ok so how is this relevant to what I started talking about. Well, I learned that a big part of running a group is getting folks to feel good about their running. I think that I was able to help the participants gain a feeling of mastering their environment somewhat. We worked on lots of different techniques and tackled some tough trails and where I saw the value was where the runners felt like they had discovered something within themselves. I am better than I was because I tried this. In the groups we felt good because we learned a bunch of things we didn’t know about running and running trails, we discovered some amazing places to run with some amazing people and we found out a bit more about what kind of runners we are. Running should never ever be about I have to be better than I was yesterday. That’s impossible. Think about how many days you can go out and run your best ever. Very few indeed. Running should always be about enjoying today’s run. I think it all adds up to this and perhaps this is what I learned most. On any given day you run, you might feel you are running wearing clunky clogs and snow pants or you might feel as I say after a brilliant run ” Like butter” but they are the same. Wow, I just wrote a blog about treating victory and disaster the same – Thanks Mr. Kipling. Now somehow I just need to be able to really believe it because apparently I don’t. You should have seen me puking 3 hours before last Saturday’s race. Sometimes I think that writing this blog is more about me figuring me than anything else.