Danica Newon: My Favorite Run

Danica Newon's favorite runs are the ones that hardly feel like an effort.

My Favorite type of workout would have to be a run that reminds me how special running is.

Because I don’t do many specific workouts with goals in mind, like being faster or getting in a special type of run, the running I do is pretty much only based on mileage. So a favorite workout would be one that I feel awesome on and really relax and just let myself run.

I start my run by mapping it out and see how I’m feeling once I head out. If I start out feeling good, I’ll play a game with myself to see if I can run negative splits each mile. Or I’ll do a 2-mile warm-up, some faster miles and then a 2-mile cool-down. But I never intentionally start out a run with a workout in mind, and it took me a while to get to a point to accept that mindset.

One thing I’ve learned that I need to remind myself of is the fact that I run for fun. I ran competitively in high school and when I first started running again after high school, I was struggling with motivation because I wasn’t as fast as I used to be. I was frustrated because it wasn’t fun and I couldn’t hit times like I used too. I beat myself up over it and didn’t enjoy running.

Once I realized I didn’t need to compare myself to others, to worry about time or pace, it became fun for me. When I started to run and look around at my surroundings instead of my watch, I enjoyed it and found a new type of running; running for myself. I still needed to run, it was just about going out and enjoying it, it wasn’t work like how it was in high school. I focused on the fact that I COULD run, instead of the fact that I wasn’t running what I thought was fast. When I came to terms with the fact that running could be fun, my outlook changed and my running changed for the better. I didn’t have to revolve my life around workouts like I did in high school, I wasn’t letting anyone down, and I could run the miles I wanted to, when I wanted to. It gave me more freedom and allowed me to enjoy running in a new noncompetitive way.

Over the past 15 years that I’ve been running, I’ve truly had every different kind of run. Ones where you get sick, ones that are horrible and you end up walking home with your head down and ones that are simply magical that seem to reinvigorate every aspect of your life. Though they seem to be somewhat elusive, when they happen it can motivate you for weeks or even months. There is something that changes on those runs that reminds you why you run and keeps you coming back for more. It’s the run when you turn for the path home and just smile, wondering if you should keep going or end on the perfect note. You want to pump your arms as you reach your front door, like Rocky as he runs up the steps and at that precise moment nothing will get you down.

For more on the Saucony 26 Strong program, which pairs up 13 coaches with 13 marathon rookies, visit 26Strong.com.

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