Races · Running

SPARC 5K (20:40) & the difference between running and training

Saturday I ran the SPARC 5K. I ran this race last year and I enjoyed the experience so I decided to go back and run it again. My experience this year was completely different though. This was in no way a reflection of the race. The race was fantastic. The volunteers were helpful, the course was an actual 5k, it was well marked, and it was close to home. The only problem that I had with this race was that I am not as fast as I was last year. Last year I may have told you that I wasn’t as fast as the year before–that is also true. The problem is really with me and not with this race or any other race. I just haven’t been motivated or excited to run.

Saturday I got out of bed around 7am. I was already wearing my race outfit because I slept in it. I ate some oatmeal, drank some water, brushed my teeth, put on my shoes, and ran to the race. By the time I got there it was probably 7:35. I didn’t know what to do for another 25 minutes because I ran to the race as a warm up and I was alone. Being alone at a race is really strange for me. In all of my life this has probably only happened two other times. To pass time I just focused on the fact that I was going to race in my pocket shorts and my key and coffee money would remain zipped safely inside of the pocket. I love this particular pair of shorts and wearing them makes me feel fantastic. As I was looking up (I had been staring down at my shorts) I saw a woman I knew so waiting for the race to begin wasn’t so bad anymore.

I was the first female finisher for the second year in a row. That is just a factual statement and nothing more. At this point in my running journey winning arbitrary. I wasn’t trying to win. I was just a girl who entered a local 5K on a Saturday morning because she needed a reason to run. I love to run and I always will, but I am not training and when I am not training I struggle to run. The race got me out of the house and I ran.

There is a distinct difference between running and training. For me, training is running 50-60 or more miles per week, doing workouts, never missing long runs, and racing regularly. It also includes specific goals, a training plan, and the promise of seeing progress in the future. Right now the running I am doing doesn’t fit into that description. There were a few weeks back in March and April that I felt like I was ‘training’ and then I fell into a rut and I haven’t been able to dig myself out, but I am trying.





Run. Move forward. Look ahead. And even if you stumble or fall, find comfort in knowing that the rut will soon be miles behind you. 

5 thoughts on “SPARC 5K (20:40) & the difference between running and training

  1. Congratulations on your win!

    You say you won a race when you weren’t trying, but IMHO, by signing and showing up for a race you were trying… sometimes things like a race can motivate people to get back into training mode. If you really didn’t care you wouldn’t have signed or showed up, you know? I think everyone goes through phases of motivation and demotivation and that is life. Running is a hobby and like other hobbies, it’s not #1 priority and it’s really OK to not always be in training mode. You’re still an amazing runner to run that time on a whim, too!


    1. Thanks Amy! You are right! I signed up because I needed to run that day and although I wasn’t trying to win I still ran as fast as I could that day. I think I am just lucky to have so many year of running behind me because it carries me through races when I feel like running isn’t going well. Mostly, I think my problem is that I’ve been really stressed with life the past month and I don’t turn to running when that happens. I had a great run yesterday so that’s a start!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice race you did,im Liz friend my name is jamie,been running for 2 years now.
    I’ve seen you at some races and your doing great.I too have my ruts, if my races aren’t so good then I know my training is not going so well,i get mad at myself for that, cans ei1 know I can to better, not every tac I PR.but I’d like to run well. My 1st 5k was 21:34 and my pr is 18:41. But I average 19s. So I have a lot of work to do. When I see Liz or anybody positive proggress, it motivates me.
    I’m in a slight rut now. I took a week off it slowly running again.maybe it the heat.
    Good luck this year , Keep up the good work
    Happy running.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jamie! Liz and I actually did a race together yesterday! She’s great! Next time we are at a race together introduce yourself. It seems like we are around the same pace when we’re both in good race shape! Good luck in your summer races!


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