This post may not be what you think, or maybe it is. Yesterday after work I needed to get outside and move. There was maybe an hour of daylight remaining, and it was still nearly 70 degrees so I threw on my workout clothes, my running shoes were in my truck, and I headed to my favorite place these days, the Urban Forestry Center. I wasn’t sure my upset stomach would let me run for more than 5 minutes, and I wasn’t sure if I would be walking or running after my squat session earlier in the day, I just knew I needed to feel my body moving through the woods.
Happily, my legs felt okay and my heart felt even better. As I jogged and hiked through the quiet outdoor trails I realized I could not remember the last time I just put on my shoes and ran-no watch, no expectations, no focus on numbers, and it felt great. I thought, maybe this is what it feels like to be a running grown-up? I had no negative thoughts about my obsessiveness with numbers and data, just an acknowledgement that came and went that maybe there was nothing wrong with it. Maybe, just maybe, when you first learn how to do something-and in this case I have only been running for 3 years-that is what you do- you crunch numbers and obsess.
I thought about how obsessive I have been in those three years about data and numbers-distances, paces, times, PR’s, and then weights and reps in the gym. The numbers all need to be recorded, kept track of, and then compared and analyzed to death. I had been thinking that my hyper focus on all of that data is not useful, productive or necessary, but yesterday during my run I realized it has all been necessary and has allowed me to start becoming a grownup with some independence and responsibility for my running and my fitness.
Ironically, this post by Deuce Gym captures the same sentiment about becoming a fitness adult.
While we’re at it, what is your training age? Meaning, how many years (not months) have you been training strength and conditioning?
So as far as running goes, I am in my fourth year. Think of the 4 year olds you know. Pretty cool, huh? They are starting to become quite good at things in life and at being independent. They think they can do more than they can on their own, and they think they know everything, but they are just starting on their journey toward adulthood.
And as far as my fitness life, maybe I can get points for the on again off again work I have been doing over the last 7 years, but that still only makes me 8; ready to learn some big kid moves, but not very good at them.
There are so many parallels to being a child and being a beginner at learning something, I don’t think it can be ignored. From needing constant support and encouragement, lots of practice time and failure, and the need to pick yourself up and try, try again, to progressions and patience and the gradual release of responsibility for learning. As a parent you know when the training wheels need to come off. As a kid, there is no better feeling than being able to do that thing you have been wanting to do independently, just for fun.
So as a 4 year old runner, there is still a long way to go toward adulthood, and that is okay with me. It is hard to be patient when you are little and want to be a grownup, but true fitness is for life.
Many of the things you want from your fitness will take a lifetime to acquire so..”