for those who love the outdoors

1 April, 2024


There’s a time and place for time and pace: How my relationship with running has evolved

When you pick up running, whether it be as a competitive sport or a casual hobby, naturally the conversation can shift to races. It can sometimes feel as though these race events are the inevitable by-product or end-result of any running journey.

When I started running a year and a half ago, I did so because my sister and I decided to sign up for our first ever half marathon on a whim one evening. I committed to the challenge with every intention of giving up running as soon as I crossed that finish line, but somewhere along the way I began enjoying myself and well, here I am some time later, still running.

Regardless of the bout of shin splints in my case, and the obvious hardships that we willingly put ourselves through - tempo sessions I’m looking at you! - I generally enjoyed my first experience of training for a race.

However, by the time I signed up for my second race, I was acutely aware from the start of the - entirely self-inflicted yet highly palpable - pressure to beat my last time and achieve a PB. 

For the first time since I embarked on this journey, running felt like a chore, not a choice. Even pushing through underlying injuries and ignoring my body’s pleas for rest in an attempt to achieve an arbitrary finishing time that I had come to define as ‘success’. 

By leading with my ego and convincing myself that anything less would be a failure, I began resenting running and enabled the enjoyment of the race day and preparation itself to became secondary to external validation, or kudos on Strava. So much so that even after completing the race and achieving what I’d set out to do, I began to question whether it had all been worth it.

In the fallout to the event, I decided to take some time to focus on how I could restore my relationship with running to that of a positive, healthy one again. I had to decondition my mind from the patterns of thinking it had become accustomed to. Like how my purpose or status as a ‘runner’, albeit amateur, would certainly not diminish if I broke the cycle of training, racing and repeating. 

Or, that my time, pace or general running stats were in fact of no lasting interest to anyone else as they distractedly scroll down their Strava feed dishing out kudos like theres no tomorrow.

6 months on from completing my last race and I have found my love for running again - this time in ways that don’t revolve around competition, comparison or PBs. I’ve trained based on my heart rate, slowing it right down in an attempt to stay within a HR zone unique to me. 

I’ve ran trails, being careful to conserve my energy on the inclines or avoid tripping over tree roots. I’ve ran to discover new places, stopping to take pictures or pin coffee shops that take my fancy on Google maps as I pass by. I’ve ran barefoot on the beach, enjoying the feeling of strengthening different muscles and tackling unusual terrains.

All of which have taught me to find purpose and enjoyment in running in ways not dictated by the constraining metrics of time and pace. Instead of seeing each run as a means to an end, or as insignificant pieces of a puzzle that fit together to create something of importance, I’ve learnt to enjoy each run for what it is. And if along the way you see signs of improvement, however you chose to define ‘improvement’, then that’s just an added bonus!

Faye Currie

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Running is now a huge part of my life but if you’d told me that a couple of years ago, I never would’ve believed you!

Until recently, my interest in sport had been mostly theory-based, exploring the institution of it while studying Sociology at university. But after signing up to my first half marathon, I developed a love for running. It’s since added to my life in more ways than just physical performance. It continues to open doors & gives me a renewed sense of purpose as an avid over-thinker in the throes of a quarter-life crisis!

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