I’m two rest days wiser.

I’m not normally one to take rest days. I know I need them sometimes, but it’s hard for me to slow down or stop. Yesterday I took a full rest day, doing absolutely no exercise for the first time in quite a while. Then I did it again today. No regrets.

I’ve had some time to re-group and refocus and visualize some of my longer-term goals, as well as just slow down and unwind. I also got my final mark for my Body Mind course yesterday – 95%. So I should know how important a strong state of mind is while running. Although I wasn’t fully convinced I needed a rest day physically, I did need one mentally.

Running for me is much more about mind and heart than it is about muscles and legs. And that’s how I’ve based most of my priorities. I’ve decided I’m going to run outside in my VFFs as long as I can stand it. If that becomes impossible, I will consider a treadmill on the odd day of a weather extreme. But ultimately, I’d rather run outdoors in shoes than indoors barefoot. That’s just what running is for me.

I went more minimalist primarily because of a greater sense of connection to the earth. So running indoors completely defeats the purpose for me. It becomes nothing but a chore, either with or without shoes. If it turns out that I have to miss a couple of running days due to bad weather, so be it. But I need to be outside.

The thing is, no matter how cold and no matter how strong the winds are, I can always smile through any blizzard. But I can never smile on a treadmill. And the smiling is what it’s all about for me. Maybe someday I’ll have it in me to make friends with the treadmill. But I’m going to try to hold out for a little while longer.

One thing that makes me happy is that I finally feel like I’m settling into my relationship with running. It’s no longer an awkward acquaintance but an old friend. I don’t worry as much about rules or formalities. I can just be myself and do things my way.

When I first started blogging, I was all about rules and tips. I wanted to do it right by anyone’s standards. Improve slowly. Carb load. Taper. Wear fuel belts. I thought about how many grams of protein I should eat, and when.

Now I’m much more comfortable in my running skin. I’ve learned that I inhabit a magnificent body that can (and will) ultimately do whatever I ask it to. That I can sometimes push it a little harder, or rest it a little longer. That I can spoil it, but it will still bust out results when it’s time to break a sweat.

I’ve learned that I can go at my own pace. Wear what I want. Knock on a neighbour’s door for water. That I can just RUN without any rules. And thoroughly enjoy the journey.

I can’t wait to get out tomorrow.