Back to Basics – Why We Run

Today we welcome a guest post from one half of Trail Chix duo, Connie Richards. This article was published on the Trail Chix website recently, and as I read it, it struck a chord with me. For those not in the know, Trail Chix was set-up by Connie and Tymeka Warburton to help encourage more women out on the trails – definitely something that helps boost the numbers of women in our sport. Check out their website and Facebook page for lots of women’s running goodness.

The reason why this post resonated with me is because over time, our sentiments towards how we consider our ‘performance’ changes. Connie is a talented runner and athlete, always at the pointy end of the races she enters. But over time it could be argued that in striving for better and better we lose sight of why we even started running in the first place.

It parallels with my own thoughts too currently. Since starting running ultras over seven years ago, my life is a million miles away from what it was then. Marriage, a family, a new thriving business all compete for the precious time there is in the day, and there are times when you have to say, ‘running, you’ve got to take a back seat for the moment.’ 

But with that comes the joy of rediscovery. I may not be as fit as I was a few years ago, but now I simply run for the pleasure of doing so. No watch, no Strava, no specific time goals – just the beauty of being out there and enjoying what I do – a coming home party if you will.

So without further ado, Connie has very kindly allowed me to republish her article below and I hope it resonates with a few of you. Thanks to Connie and Trail Chix!

Over the past few months I have gone through a quiet and internal battle “why do I run”?

I have always been involved in sports and have raced at a high level, so for me running was no different. Trail running gave me an extreme buzz and still does, but the racing aspect may have just about ran its course with me.

Now, if you know me, which Tymeka does well, I am a creature of competition and I thrive on being competitive. Competition was the thing that made me tick. It was my identity and I felt I had to be competitive in running.

In September, Tymeka and I travelled to Adelaide and I raced at the Yurrebilla 56km ultra (great race and one you need to put on your list). This race was definitely a turning point for me. I found this race to be particularly tough, my back was sore and I had trained for this race but didn’t feel fit enough for what I wanted to do, the joy of self-pressure!

I spent that race battling with my head, I desperately wanted to pull out but couldn’t bring myself to do it, so instead I crossed the line not at all excited to have completed the course…

From here on I decided it was time to stop and go back to why I started trail running. For the fun of it, for being out in nature and laughing in the forest with my friends. I had stopped running for those reasons and started running for events, times, positions and worst of all to try to meet the standards I placed on myself.

Connie and Tymeka
Connie and Tymeka

I love adventuring with Tymeka and others, getting lost and seeing some of the beauty in the Gold Coast Hinterland. I love seeing the ladies of Trail Chix get the same buzz I do when we are out there.

So, since that race I have run only a handful of times, no watch, no gps, no pressure, no program, no training goals, and no event in sight. The result…….utter joy.

It is no secret I love social media, but I have also stopped following a lot of running on social media and stopped posting about my running. I’m scared to go on Strava, it’s all about how many km’s, P.B’s and kings and queens of climbs. It’s a game of numbers and comparison. That’s not why I want to run anymore.

Does technology affect the reasons we run?

Who are you running for when we constantly upload digits and times for the world to see?

Now, I am not saying that Strava is bad, I can see how much people love it and get out of it, I just like to throw the idea out there. Do you run for the Strava win or because you love the adventure that your running brings to your life?

Here’s a challenge for all to try… can you run for a fortnight without posting anything on social media or Strava?

How does this alter your running experience?

Like our articles? Take a second to support Ultra168 on Patreon from as little as $1 a month!
Dan on Twitter
I'm a mediocre runner who can bat above his average when I train hard. A man of extremes, I do enjoy everything life offers and consider it an absolute pleasure just to be able to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander somewhere different.

One thought on “Back to Basics – Why We Run

  1. Great article and certainly thought provoking 🙂

    I come from a barefoot running background so have always enjoyed the trails ‘naturally’ rather than with determined ‘digital’ focus and statistics but I do love social media – more for trying to share the joys once I’m back from the trails to entice others to get of the sofa and give any distance a go…!
    I’m now an experienced and well ‘weathered’ ultra runner, still out enjoying the trails on a non competitive manner. Lost my mojo beginning of this year and still working on it. One even that I did try to focus too much expectation on and specific goals was a 95 mile ultra race in Scotland. Never reached my time target and was gutted by it, really disappointed. Sadly this took a lot away from the actual achievement that it takes to complete this race, perhaps a flaw in my personality where I tend to fixate on certain things if I choose to go down that avenue. Healthy for ‘body’ but perhaps not for ‘mind’. Later on this year, I ran the same race, no targets, no pressure and loved every second of it!
    From this realization of basic natural enjoyment in covering significant millage in a day, I’m now looking into enjoying more days on the trails as a ‘fastpacker’. Why not mix this passion with a night out under the stars, with a mighty fine brew in hand…? 😉


Leave a Reply