I used to love running – I have completed plenty of marathons, half marathons, 10kms, 5kms.

We didn’t have strava, we didn’t really have smartphones – I would plot my run and go run it and see how long it would take me.  Nobody knew how far or fast I ran.   How many hills I climbed.  I would just run.

Now we have gadgets and smartphones that tell us everything from pace per min / cadence / elevation / temperature / average stride length / vertical oscillation etc.  These are great to have if you are focussing on something specific.

Last year, I trained for my Ironman and the data was needed especially training in Heart Rate Zone 2 and again, for this year’s challenge, the World Triathlon Championships.

But now what?

Part of me feels like everyone is watching me and thinking.. oh, she’s not running as fast as she was earlier in the year.  She should be better than that.

But I have come to realise,

‘THE BEST RUNNING COMES FROM THE FREEDOM OF NOT HAVING TO PROVE ANYTHING TO ANYONE BUT YOURSELF’

The problem is our environment, what we hear, listen to, the voices of expectations others have for us and our own expectations cause unnecessary pressure to reside where it most certainly does not need to be.

What is bad is when you get caught up in the expectations of others and then have to start explaining yourself if your race didn’t go to your standards (or their standards).

I have realised that my mindset for running should be one of calm and confidence – something that I haven’t had for a long time but I think I have found it.

Living up to other’s expectations of me is not part of that equation.  At the end of the day, no-one really cares about how well I do in a race, really.

Yes, loved ones care, as do your friends and family.  No matter how fast we run, it doesn’t dictate our worth.  My loved ones will care about me regardless of what time I run or what place I come in at a race.

I have spent too much time, caught up in trying to impress others that it’s taken the enjoyment of running itself.  But this is going to change.

I have a great friend who has moved locally and we’ve been out running this week and last, no agenda, just to go out and run and have a good chat.  I have loved every minute of those runs – no set distance or time, just go out and run.   We understand each other, there’s no pressure, we can run slower or faster if we want.  The time goes by so quickly as we chat, putting the world to rights.

I don’t have a goal and right now I don’t want one.  I am happy just to go out and run, just because I can.

Miss V