I was doing great. As of July 22, I had run at least a mile every day for 425 days. In a row. On July 23, I didn’t run.
I wasn’t injured. I didn’t forget. I made a choice. I switched my focus from running every day to training for a marathon.
I asked a friend about coaching me for the marathon, which is just 10 weeks away. I showed him my running history and my current approach. I told him about what works for me with motivation and what doesn’t. I outlined everything I could think of about my physical and mental attitudes and behaviors around running.
And in our first conversation over dinner, my new training coach said, “you are going to have to think about a day off.”
I smiled. I immediately started thinking about all the people I’ve read about who have maintained running streaks through all levels of marathon training, including people who have run marathons every day.
The next morning while running, I realized that I needed to release the streak. Not because of the rest day, though that is important. Not because of the struggle I have with maintaining two training goals at the same time, though that is real, too. It’s because I have to learn to trust a coach more than I trust myself.
He’s run three dozen marathons. He’s coached young runners for years. I asked for help because I understood that the low standard of running every day wasn’t getting me ready for running 26.2 miles in one day. I couldn’t self-coach. I needed to start training.
And to argue with the first thing he suggested would mean that I would question everything he suggested.
So I quit running. For four days. Now I’m training.
And I’m guessing that this isn’t just about running.