Keith and I were recently faced with something we never imagined we would have to deal with. We were leaving the pool one morning and received a call that one of our very dear friends, Keith’s best friend of almost 30 years, had taken his own life. We spent that day making the necessary phone calls and essentially just walking around in a state of shock. We had a bike ride scheduled that afternoon and while we absolutely could have skipped it, we decided that maybe at least going through the motions would help us to find some normalcy in this horrific day.
We put our bikes on the trainers and suited up. We rode, not hard and not long, but we rode. Two days later we had a long run scheduled. We absolutely could have skipped this. Instead, we hit the trails with our headphones on and ran for hours and hours. We probably only said a few words to each other. We cried lots of tears and we had one of the most therapeutic runs I could have ever imagined. Does the fact that we did these 2 workouts during such a traumatic time mean that we weren’t grieving or that we take our training too seriously? Does it mean that we don’t have lives outside of running? Not at all. Training (whether it be running or biking or whatever) is so much more than that to us. It is routine, together time, normalcy, meditation, and happiness. It is therapy.
We needed that run more than anything. That particular run is what helped us to get through a very emotional and exhausting weekend. That run also got us thinking. Why do people run or bike or swim if it doesn’t make them happy? Every single workout doesn’t have to be looked forward to or even enjoyed but if the overall theme of what you’re doing isn’t happiness, then what is it? I often hear from people that they’re too “stressed” to work out. There’s nothing that would help with stress more than a work out. On the flip side, I struggle when people decide to train for a specific race or join a specific group simply because they have a friend doing it. Your friends happiness is not going to get you through it. It has to be something that makes you happy as well.
If it’s not running that makes you happy and keeps you lifted during tough times, that’s perfectly ok, but I challenge you to figure out what it is. Everyone needs something healthy that also gives them the feeling of meditation, normalcy, and happiness. Figure out what it is for you and embrace it. You never know when you’ll need it.