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One Tip Wednesday: The most important question to ask yourself before every run


“Why the heck am I up at 5:00am to go running?!”

This has often been the question I ask myself because, let’s face it, runners are a wacky breed and sometimes I have to check in with myself out loud. (Quietly, of course, so as not to wake the kids.) Whether it’s a dark, rainy morning run, a post-work hustle, or even a squeeze-it-in at lunch run, at insane times, in messy weather, we just lace up and go.

Because we need running, right?

It gets us going, keeps us healthy, and it helps tame the crazies. Oh, and joy! Let’s not forget the joy, because it indeed gives us that!

We know we need running in our lives, but do we know what we need every time we head out the door? This is what I want to chat with you about this morning.

the TIP: The most important question to ask yourself before every run is, “What do I need today?”

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m a bit, ahem, type-A which means I love planners and schedules and lists and boxes to check and sharp pencils to re-sharpen…. you get the idea. And this can be super helpful when you’re a running-working-homeschooling-coaching-writing mom like me, but that same awesome quality can also be a big ol’ hindrance when it comes to truly knowing what I need.

I love training plans (with checkboxes!) They are the brains behind the race. They are the unemotional helpmates that keep you on track, don’t negotiate, and, if written in ink, can stare you down with an unblinking, 90-day stink eye. What would we do without them?

But sometimes, what I need, what my running life needs, what my “everything else life” needs is not what’s on the training plan.

So, as you suit up, catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, “What do I need today?” Your answer might be….

  • I need to run without a watch today because I’m feeling over-scheduled with everything else.
  • I need to run up a hill because I need the view at the top.
  • I need to run downhill today and feel the wind in my hair.
  • I need to run easy around the track because I need a no-brainer.
  • I need to cut my run short today and buy myself a coffee and walk home.
  • I need some speed work today, to sweat hard, and get completely energized.
  • I need to focus on my pace so I feel confident on race day.
  • I need to be gentle with myself and not worry about pace because I didn’t sleep well and slow feels just right.

the WHY: Because sometimes life needs you more than the training plan does

You know that feeling when you come home from a great run and things don’t look as bleak or scary or impossible as when you started out? The house feels hot and steamy and welcoming. There’s coffee. It’s in those moments when I say to myself, “Ah, that was just what a needed.”

We run because it helps us be our best selves. What you get out of it is personal and just for you. So ask yourself what you need… today.

I would love to hear what answers popped up. Let me know in the comments below. Also, I believe in you!

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