Everyone runs for different reasons. It’s important to know what yours is. Me? I love to compete with myself. The thing I love about running is the thing I love about Crossfit. Talent levels vary greatly. Some things you are born with, some things you work for, but one thing is universal and that is that the work you put in determines the improvements you make.

That improvement based on work appeals to me. It’s not mysterious. It’s not remarkable. And all it takes is discipline and consistency. It appeals to me because I am like that. I am a fan of hard work. I think for the most part you are far better off working for what you want rather than coming up with ethereal inspirational quotes about what you would maybe like to do one day. I’m a pragmatist. So if something has to be done, it doesn’t matter if I feel like it or not, I still have to find a path from A to B. Some things you just have to woman up and do. It doesn’t matter if your kids are feral or you have a cold or you are going through a rough patch. In the end, people don’t remember your intentions, they remember what you actually did.

So what does that have to do with running? Well, there’s this myth that all running is supposed to be hard. And the truth is once you have a decent level of aerobic fitness it doesn’t have to be. You could do easy runs every day for the rest of your life. And sure, some would feel harder than others but for the most part it would be easy. The idea that it has to be hard is a myth. Significant improvement on the other hand that kind of does have to be hard. You kind of have to push that boundary between what you can do and what you think you can’t do to find out where the limit is. And then you have to push that limit to see how far it will go.

That’s why I run. To find out where the limit is. And then move it. Last year at Great Ocean Road when we ran the half marathon I saw pictures of people on a social run having an awesome time and pictures of me racing. You can tell I’m racing because I look like hell. And I saw that and thought I would have really loved to have been having  a nice social run and not racing. Because speed isn’t everything. And it isn’t. Speed is nothing. And for awhile I thought that this year could be just a bit of a cruisey year. But it can’t. I will always enjoy social runs. They are fun. Way more fun than racing. But I can’t train that way. I’m incapable of it. At first it was ok. And then I got bored. And then I stopped enjoying my running. And then it really seemed like a chore.

The fact is that if I’m not pushing the boundaries of what I can do I lose myself a bit too much. It’s just not me. It’s not who I am. So I re-wrote my training plan and I’ve been doing that for two weeks.



Yesterday I had a great run. That hasn’t happened in a long while. It wasn’t my fastest run on that route, but it really was the so easy and so fun and it reminded me how far I’ve come.


People run for lots of reasons. I love writing training plans for people who want to have fun and variety in their running and for people who are aiming for a new distance and for people who want to enjoy their social runs and for people who have an ambitious goal. I really enjoy how everyone is different and everyone wants something different out of it.

Running is my art, my science and my therapy, but only if I’m working out where the boundaries of it are and figuring out which ones can be bent and which ones can be broken.

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Zoey Dowling

Written by: operationmove

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  1. Pingback: The Jolly Running Project » Blog Archive » The Running Imposter April 7, 2015

    […] wrote a fab post on accepting who you are as a runner over on the Operation Move blog, but running for me is about finding who I am.  Can I find enough of those qualities that […]

  2. I totally love this. If you can't find the simple joy in running, then why keep going. Sure goals can be motivating, but sometimes goals can undo you. I know I love running, and I do it because it's my way to reconnect with me.