Beyond the Finish Line

Why the Journey Matters More Than the PB

Not that long ago I wrote about why races are about the journey, not the destination.

Yet, when I first started my running journey, I became obsessed with pace, times, and that ever-elusive personal best (PB).

It would be years of running and dipping my toe in the world of trails and ultras that the true magic of running lies not in the personal best, but in the journey and experiences itself.

Don’t get me wrong, achieving a goal race time is fantastic. But now that I’m older I’ve learnt that focusing solely on the finish line can rob me of the immense satisfaction and growth that comes from the process of running.

Now I embrace the journey, and it has made me a happier and stronger runner.

My 40s brought a wave of exciting changes, and that included my workouts.

Gone were the days of chasing personal bests set in my younger years. The truth is, my body just wasn’t wired the same way anymore.

Perimenopause threw a curveball too, adding a layer of challenge. So, I revamped my training zones, swapped self-criticism for self-compassion, and started writing a new fitness chapter – one that celebrated progress, not just achievements.

The Joy is in the Run

Fixating on the end result can make running feel like a chore. By shifting my focus to appreciation, things changed. The rhythm of feeling my feet hitting the pavement, the fresh air in my lungs, and the appreciation of the scenery around me, helped transform my runs with moments of pure joy.

One of the things I love to do is to take photos of those moments. Like this one, on one of the tracks I was running in Nuggety hill.

Running is not always sunshine and rainbows

There will be tough workouts, bad weather days, and moments of self-doubt.

Recently I was staring down a 90-minute, but instead of a sense of dread, something shifted. Maybe it was a new playlist, a full moon, or just sheer stubbornness, but dread morphed into determination.

Knowing that this was a mental hurdle as much as a physical one, I rebuilt my mental fortress brick by brick, by running 4:1 intervals.

Each 4-minute run interval became a victory, and the one-minute walk breaks weren’t surrender, they were strategic refuels. The result? Not just crushing those 90 minutes, but covering 13km, which was way more than I bargained for!

Small mindset shifts like this can help build the unshakeable resilience that will carry you across any finish line, real or metaphorical.

Celebrate the Small Victories

When you focus on just the personal bests, it’s easy to ignore the countless smaller victories along the way.

Maybe you ran a little further today or conquered a hill that used to daunt you. Or maybe you simply managed to squeeze in your run despite a busy schedule.

Acknowledging these wins will not only keep you motivated but it will help to reinforce the positive aspects of running.

Running is a Lifelong Pursuit

Ditching the pressure of chasing personal bests was a game-changer. Now, I run because it’s my time. It’s a chance to explore, sweat, and feel the satisfaction of movement.

Every mile I log today is a building block for a healthier, happier future – the kind where I’m still hitting the trails well into my 70s, just like my mum!

Running should be a dance, a fun and sometimes challenging exploration. I crave new paths, the chance to meet fellow enthusiasts, and the simple joy of getting lost in the rhythm of my feet.

The distance and pace become secondary. Every run is a victory, a chance to appreciate the effort I put in and the positive impact it has on both my body and mind.

Forget the finish line. It’s the journey that matters, the one that leads you to a healthier and happier you. So lace up those shoes, embrace the adventure, and most importantly – enjoy the run!

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