Lately if I’m not running with friends, I’m not running at all. I have not had the motivation or the mental fortitude to go run solo. This is a new phase for me. I’ve had moments in life where running has not been fun at all for me. This is not that. I still really enjoy running. In fact after each run lately I’ve been a bit emotional because I’m so thankful for the experience. It is really hard to explain. I have a lot more feelings than I ever really gave myself credit for. Bottom line, my running has been more beneficial for my emotional health than my physical health lately.
That is all about to change though. Last week I announced, that for the first time in a year, I’ve set a goal race with the intention of setting a personal best (Greg fast) in the half marathon. That means I need to get fit both mentally and physically. Today before I meet with my coach I want to lay out what that means for me mentally. I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this on the blog, but I’m a very competitive person. One of the reasons I like running so much is that I can be as competitive as I want to be and it doesn’t really hurt anyone because I’m competing against myself. This outlet for my competitive spirit has done wonders for me socially, as I generally am much more easy going than I was as a younger man.
For me, if I’m going to train, it is going to be all inclusive. This means I plan to use the gym, dive into the pool and stick to my recovery. I also understand that I’ll be running some solo miles again real soon. I need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable again. Something I haven’t done running in quite some time now. My intention is to once again work with Coach Jacqui Meadors. Coach is a blend between a third big sister, second mother to me and a running mentor. She won’t hesitate to crush my soul while running up a hill, she’ll also freak out if I slide for 10 feet on ice in the middle of the street and she will be there for me no matter what. I’m confident that she can hold me accountable and recognize my pitiful excuses while appropriately correcting my actions should the need arise.
The mental side of running is truly unique. Even for my fun run with friends I still battle inside my head before we head out. I try to make excuses to bail on the run. I didn't sleep well, I'm too sore, the kid is sick, I don't have time for this and the list goes on. The truth is no matter what level you are on, committing to running (especially in a South Dakota winter) is hard work mentally. It almost always feels great when you finish a run and in my experience it is almost always difficult to get started. It is all of these feelings that make running great.
That brings me to the home front. I noted last week that by the time I got to LA my heart wasn’t truly into racing. I might not have mentioned this last week, but I won’t be alone in Deadwood. Both Chelsea and I will be training for this race. That is a different blog post though. Mentally, what that means for me though is that this race isn’t all about me in my household. This will be a family affair and we will both have a super fan base waiting for us at the finish line. We will be balancing our training time with our parenting time and supporting each other as we prepare for this event. We are at our best when we are each other’s number one teammate. I think that this experience will bring us closer together as a family and if winter ever ends I can hopefully bring Violet on some training runs with me!
Greg Koch is the Co-Owner and General Manager of 605 Running Company and Co-Produces the Sioux Falls Skedaddle Half Marathon. He serves on the Board of Directors for Downtown Sioux Falls, the 605 Race Crew and the Sioux Falls Area Running Club. When Greg isn’t with his family or working he enjoys being outside biking, kayaking, golfing or playing church softball.
YouTube: 605 Running Company
Join me in Deadwood! Register for the race here and use the code “rundeadwood2020” to save $10.00 off of your registration fee. This code doesn’t last forever though so be sure to sign-up by May 29th!