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Do what you do.

So after posting my training plan, someone commented about how I wasn’t running enough nor reaching my full potential. At first when I got this comment I was a little baffled and upset. I thought I explained pretty thoroughly about why I was using the plan I was using and my reasoning behind it. Of course I would love to be able to run more, but working 60 hours a week, having friends and family and also having to keep myself sane, doesn’t allow for an abundance of running time, and I’m more than okay with that. That’s why I came up with the plan I made.

As for not reaching my full potential. That’s probably true. It’s funny, because sometimes when I’m out running, well most of the time when I’m out running, I get lost in really deep thought. My mind just wanders away and it’s like I pick it back up when I’m done running. I have to remind myself sometimes that I’m not the runner I once was. I did the whole running is my life thing for four years. I worked HARD. I trained about 20 hours a week. I think that’s when I was at my ‘full potential’ and guess what. I’m a LONG way from that now. I enjoy leisurely running. I enjoy running for fun. I don’t enjoy hitting times and over analyzing everything I am training for and running so hard I throw up. Those days are in my past. They were fun. Running fast is fun. It took me a lot to get to a place where I’m okay with my times and not going out and running as hard and as fast as I can every single run. I just can’t do that anymore. I may not be at my full potential, but for me, my definition of success is being healthy and enjoying life. If I’m doing that, then I’m good.

So many people ask me about Boston. I want to go sure. I want to run Boston. But I’ve never had this incredible drive like so many have, and I think you must have, to qualify. I almost feel like I worked that hard before in High School and now I’m happy to be where I’m at. Once I broke four hours, it was my Boston moment. It was all I ever wanted. I may break four hours again, I may not, but I’m happy with where I am at running wise. I have good runs and bad runs, but they all make me a stronger person in the end and that’s all that matters.

I was thinking yesterday while on my 6 miler, it’s been almost TEN YEARS since I got my 5k PR. I was in HIGH SCHOOL. You know what, I worked so hard for that and I’m okay that I will never be that fast again. My most recent 5k PR was over 2 minutes slower. That’s more than okay! I’m not okay with the fact that it was almost 10 years ago! Snikes I’m getting old!

I don’t know, that comment just made me think about a lot of things. I do this for me. I run for me. I don’t care what your time is, I don’t hate my faster friends for being faster than me. My slower friends don’t hate me because I’m faster. As long as they are working hard, doing something that they want to, who cares! If they are having fun and enjoying themselves, who cares! If you are getting off the couch and doing yoga, great for you! If you are walking 2 miles a day in your tone up shoes, keep up the good work! If you are running an 8 hour marathon, good for you for finishing. It’s all about movement, fitness and doing things that make you happy.

I purposefully scheduled my plan around Bachelor night with my roommate on Mondays. Because it’s something fun and I just have cardio that day and I can enjoy watching the show. Seriously. That’s what my life has become and I love it! I love working out, but there is a fine line in my life where working out becomes a burden and I don’t like it anymore. I don’t want it to get to that point. I want to enjoy it, so therefore, do what YOU like. Don’t worry about what other people might say if it takes you forever to cross the finish line, at least you did it.

And that my friends is deep thoughts while running.


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  • Reply Lauren

    Danica, I absolutely applaude you for sticking up to what you think is best for you. Everyone has an opinion, but it’s just that, theirs.

    Good for you for knowing what you want and what you enjoy because at the end of the day, you have to do what works for you.

    Good luck with your training and I’ll see you at LA :)

    January 7, 2011 at 11:54 am
  • Reply Ally

    Danica, I love this. I think you are totally reaching your full potential! Isn’t doing what you can do reaching it? Isn’t living a life where you balance the things you love and enjoy a full life? I think so! And I think you’re doing that.

    You can’t be everything all the time and I think you’ve got a great handle on managing those things and doing it well. Besides, where’s the fun in life if you can’t watch reality TV with your roommate and enjoy it?


    January 7, 2011 at 11:55 am
  • Reply Dominique

    Well said. Well said.

    January 7, 2011 at 11:55 am
  • Reply Aj

    Gol-ly D, I didn’t see that comment but it sounds like a pretty narrow definition of potential. Obviously you could run more but your potential is not only measured by your running…it’s measured by your relationships, your career, and your other hobbies. To your readers you’re ChicRunner but to you you’re Danica, a person whose potential is more than just mileage, speed, and frequency.

    January 7, 2011 at 11:57 am
  • Reply tara

    I couldn’t have said it better myself! I think nowadays people are too worried about what others are doing and they need to focus on themselves! Do what YOU want! That doucher can go spend 60 hours a week training if he wants, but it’s not what everyone has to do to reach their full potential ♥♥♥

    January 7, 2011 at 11:58 am
  • Reply Sassy Molassy

    I think you have the right attitude about it. Just do your thing. I decreased my running days for my last marathon and came out with the same time as my PR AND was injured and exhausted WAY less than when I was running 6 days a week for marathon training. Doing what works best for you and your life is what’s most important.

    January 7, 2011 at 12:02 pm
  • Reply Budgeting Babe

    You have to set your own goals, not live up to someone else’s expectations. Oddly, I also let someone’s similar comment get to me – they were talking about my business potential – but I had a similar reaction. I posted my thoughts on it here:

    January 7, 2011 at 12:06 pm
  • Reply Bonnie

    Very well said. I feel like you said it for a lot of us.

    January 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm
  • Reply Naomi

    this post is a breath of fresh air and is probably one of my favorite posts you have ever written. you are in a good place and you are enjoying it. that’s what most important.

    January 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm
  • Reply The Laminator

    I like your deep thoughts =) My deep thought involves figuring out where I’m going and looking forward to when I can stop. Heehee =)

    January 7, 2011 at 12:12 pm
  • Reply Jes

    I love following your blog cuz your line of thinking seems so much like my own and this is no exception!
    Do your thang, girl!
    Run w/ your heart :) and enjoy the journey!

    January 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm
  • Reply carla

    bravo to you! this post is one of the reasons i enjoy your blog :) you sound so well-adjusted. i can relate, tho- last year i allowed a very negative person to influence my marathon training (former coach). i almost didn’t run the race (sf) b/c i thought ‘oh, i’m woefully undertrained.’ but, y’know, in the end, i did it and it went great! and by fall, i was running sub-8 mm’s for the first time in years! i’m *so glad* i stopped paying attention to his comments. sure, given an infinite amount of time and drive, we might all improve (we might also get injured). but you do your best w/what you can :) go you!

    January 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm
  • Reply Brie @ Brie Fit

    Amen, sista.

    What works for one person won’t work for another, and you have to do what’s healthy for ALL aspects of your life. Balance is key.

    January 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm
  • Reply Page

    I love this, D! Bravo to you for a well thought-out response :) LOVE YA!

    January 7, 2011 at 12:23 pm
  • Reply Amber from Girl with the Red Hair

    Haha yes! Love this post!

    Also, it’s so refreshing to see a runner who IS only running three days a week and still training for a marathon. It just further shows that anyone can do it. I am big-time injury prone so when I go above 35ish miles a week I’m asking for trouble. Sometimes that makes me feel crappy when a lot of running bloggers are hitting 60-70 miles a week! Thanks for reminding me that running is an INDIVIDUAL sport and we have to do what’s right for us :)


    January 7, 2011 at 12:27 pm
  • Reply A

    Amen!! This is so true for about 99.9% of the “running population” I think, so thank you for putting some words to these thoughts we all have! Isn’t this sport all about making ourselves happy and keeping healthy first and foremost? :)

    January 7, 2011 at 12:27 pm
  • Reply Carolina Girl

    No comment other than WORD. :)

    January 7, 2011 at 12:29 pm
  • Reply suz

    AMEN, sister! I just started running for the first time a year ago and am almost 38. I’m very happy that I’ve done 2 10ks, a 12k, an 8k and some shorter races. I’m also totally ok with my time–around 10 minute miles. I have a friend who is constantly “you have to run faster!” She texted me on NYE and said “Happy New Year, resolve to run 8-minute miles.” My response? “Kiss my ass, happy new year.”

    I completely agree with you. I have a demanding job as a litigation attorney, and I teach and practice yoga on top of my running. The amount of running I do, and the speed at which I do it, make me happy and make me feel good physically. That’s all that matters.

    Great post!

    January 7, 2011 at 12:33 pm
  • Reply Kelly

    Amen! What a great response. Do what works for you. Too bad we are on different time zones, we could skype the bachelor together :)

    January 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm
  • Reply Carly D. @ CarlyBananas

    Great response, Danica.
    When I’m out running, I always remind myself “A ten-minute mile is just as far as a six-minute mile.” Granted, I remind myself of this because I’m a serious slow poke, but it applies to everyone. Just because your 5K PR was in HS doesn’t mean you’re not running just as far now. The distance doesn’t change, but as long as we have fun who cares how long it takes to get there.
    Enjoy your training and all parts of your life :)

    January 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    I feel the same way. I trained REALLY hard in high school & college & got really burnt out. I stopped running altogether. Now that I’ve gotten back into running, I like to just have fun with it. I do longer distance, less often and run slower, often without a watch! It’s just how I enjoy it the most. If it gets stressful or too competitive, I wont do it. It’s so much more enjoyable this way!

    January 7, 2011 at 12:49 pm
  • Reply Jackie

    Danica, thank you for writing this! I found your blog a few years ago after the article In LA S&F magazine as I was training for my first marathon (my first race ever–I had recently lost a lot of weight and had a lot to prove to myself). I was so inspired by you and yout attitude and sense of humor about running. I crossed the finish line at Surf City at 6:01 and had never been prouder of my accomplishment. Through your blog, later I found a lot of others that take running so seriously that I actually felt ashamed of my my time and my most precious moment lost it’s joy. I don’t plan on running another marathon until after grad school and although I will probably better utilize training plans with hopes to beat my past time, that’s not what it’s really about, at least to me!

    Please keep doing what you’re doing. You’re awesome.

    January 7, 2011 at 12:49 pm
  • Reply Matt

    Nice post Money!

    January 7, 2011 at 12:54 pm
  • Reply Jessica

    Wonderful post lady! I am glad you stuck to your true self and you are running for YOU! And most importantly you are doing what makes you happy in your life.

    January 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm
  • Reply Danielle

    I love your perspective, Danica! My running plan looks a lot like yours because I, too, have a life and a job and other commitments. You do what you can do, and you do it to enjoy it, so I think what you’re doing is awesome! I’m actually following the training plan(s) in Run Less, Run Faster. The Furman Institute of Running has posited based on a huge amount of research that you actually become a better runner by running LESS (3 days a week) and really making those 3 runs quality rather than putting in “garbage miles”. [They do 1 day of speed training, 1 long run, and 1 tempo run.] So, there’s even scientific proof to back your fewer-day running schedule. ;) Keep up the good work and enjoy your running!

    January 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm
  • Reply Heather @ Alis Grave Nil

    There’s a natural ebb and flow to life. If we don’t allow ourselves to enjoy some lulls, there would be no beauty in the high points. And a lull in one area is often a high point in another. This is the rhythm of life, and to NOT post your new schedule out of concern that it would be critiqued would be silly. Enjoy your life. Sometimes running is most important, sometimes not. I think the people who can find that kind of balance are happier.

    January 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm
  • Reply Melissa R

    Other people just need to worry about their own lives and stop being so judgmental. You have to do what works for you and being realistic is super important.

    I skipped a party at my son’s school today because it was my only opportunity to run. I have gone to every one of his parties up to today. I know most of the moms will probably talk smack about me, but I know that if I didn’t run I would be in a foul mood for the rest of the day. To top it off, my husband is out of town, so it truly was the only time that worked for me.

    I put myself first because I knew that’s what I needed to do today. I guess what I’m trying to say is that life gets more complicated and you need to find what works for you. Ignore all the other people who don’t get that!!

    January 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm
  • Reply Melissa

    After five half marathons in the past year and a half, I had to take a break. I fell completely off of the workout fit train, and now that I’m back on, I’m having to learn that it is okay to just go out and run 3 miles. That’s enough for me right now. I still feel great. And, it works for my schedule. Good for you for living your life and making your running fit for you!

    January 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm
  • Reply Megan

    Well said, Danica! You have your priorities straight and honestly, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks! Your fitness regime/schedule is INCREDIBLE! It is sad, but some people get their self-esteem from putting others down rather than building them up and the internet makes it SO easy to do that without repercussion. I think the best thing to do is just be confident in yourself and say a little prayer for the nay-sayer who must feel so bad about himself that he needs to anonymously pick on a person as wonderful as you!

    January 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm
  • Reply april

    Nice. ;)

    January 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    excellent post! loved it!

    January 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm
  • Reply Morgan

    So long as you’re listening to your body and still getting in the miles it shouldn’t matter what training program you’re using so long as you’re out there doing it. Everyone trains different and what works for some might not work for others. It blows my mind anyone would question your training to that extent.

    As for Boston, I was totally on your train of thought, I never had a drive to qualify… until I spectated Spike there last year. Being there, seeing the elites, getting caught up in the crowd support, looking at the faces of those runner’s on their victory lap… that was the moment I wanted a slice of Boston for myself. I want to qualify so I can have my victory run too. Now I just gotta put in the work to make it happen.

    January 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm
  • Reply Kimberly

    Screw that person….I would hate their life and all the pressure of living up to that.

    Do what YOU like!!

    January 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm
  • Reply Nikki

    This post is so great. I love that you feel this way. I’m a really slow runner and reading all these running blogs of people who have been running for years and much faster than me were getting me down. Not no more! I run for me.

    Great post.

    January 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm
  • Reply Katherine

    Good for you!! <3

    January 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm
  • Reply carla

    hope you don’t mind another comment fr me…i also ran in hs/college and a lot faster than i am now. you’ve already proved yourself (“lived up to your potential”) and you know how much that takes out of you. i think it’s totally fine to allow running to become something you enjoy, rather than yet another stress in your life. i think that’s an advantage for those of us who raced hard when younger. now, we don’t got nothin’ to prove!

    January 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm
  • Reply Joseph Tai

    Danica, I think it is perfectly OK on your running plan. We can never be an elite runners for different reasons. Sometimes we all need a break. It may be a good thing because the body may function better after that break and be healthier.
    Good plan in my viewpoint.
    God bless you. Enjoy your work and running.

    January 7, 2011 at 5:44 pm
  • Reply Jenny

    You ARE running to your full potential, because you are running what makes you happy and that is wonderful!! There are many goals in running and they are not all about getting faster, that is just one of them. Keep up the great work!

    January 7, 2011 at 8:15 pm
  • Reply Jessica

    Hi Danica!
    I’m a relatively new reader and I’m definitely still learning how to balance my time and effort put in toward running and your post came at a great time. You are absolutely right in knowing what you do for yourself now being the best for YOU. Thank you for reminding me of something so simple and yet so important. :-)

    January 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm
  • Reply the dawn

    good for you! i’m so glad that you posted this! its so easy to get competitive with the person next to you, or with a number, or a younger version of myself…i’m so impressed with your ability to see and appreciate where you are. its awesome that you have taken the time to be realistic about what all is going on in your life and try to find a balance that works for you.

    January 7, 2011 at 9:31 pm
  • Reply Molly

    Good for you for taking those lemons that person threw your way and making some flippin’ lemonade! You gotta listen to your body and do what is best for it! My first marathon I ran 6 days a week and lifted, and cross trained. WTH was I thinking?! My fastest marathon, which qualified me for Boston, I ran 3-4 times MAX a week, and cross trained and lifted 2-3 times a week and took one entire day off a week. I listened to my body, I reached my goal time, I had fun and I still had time for a social life. A win all the way around! Good luck in your training, I think it looks solid and you are going to rock your next 26.2s and have a blast doing so! :)

    January 7, 2011 at 9:46 pm
  • Reply Nicole

    I couldnt have said it better myself. I too am in the same situation as you & dont have that drive to get to boston. If i get there, great. If not, who cares. Running for me just isnt about Boston, its about being happy with my life & myself. I would rather spend time running & doing other things then get caught up just in running. Life is too short!

    Love you D!!!!


    January 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm
  • Reply Emily

    Wow. Thanks for writing this. Your timing is perfect for me as I am running my first marathon on Sunday and am … Well, I’m not fast. And I joke about it, but I have been a bit hard on myself about it too. As a Noob runner, I don’t have all the fancy gear & gadgets. I run my own business and client needs sometimes take priority over running. Does that make me a bad runner?
    I am truly grateful to you & all the really great runner tweeps I have met over the past 2 years. Yay for encouraging and informative twitter friends!
    Thanks & keep running… Maybe I’ll see you at an event!

    January 7, 2011 at 10:10 pm
  • Reply Ellell

    There is more to life than running, and it sounds like you are living your life to it’s full potential. Running “enough” is different for everyone! Hopefully that comment was made with good intent to challenge you a bit and not to bring you down. I love reading your posts – don’t let this stop you from sharing…

    January 8, 2011 at 11:24 am
  • Reply Glenn Jones

    Hmm. Wonder if the commented has a life? Last I checked, we weren’t getting paid to reach our hobby potential. In fact when you think about it we’re quite the sap for paying so much to be able to practice our hobby! Jeez!

    January 8, 2011 at 12:07 pm
  • Reply Ali

    I think this post was great! I find it refreshing that you are so honest and candid about your current goals. I am really impressed you are training for a marathon with a 60 hour work week, there aren’t many people that I know that would be so dedicated to take on that kind of challenge.

    January 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm
  • Reply Stuart

    Shoot if you’re getting old!!!

    Now where did I leave my teeth?


    January 8, 2011 at 9:15 pm
  • Reply Stacie

    Seriously, good for you! You don’t run for anyone else. You run for yourself. Don’t let anyone else put you down! You are doing amazing things whether you run 1 or 100 times a week. Keep your head held high!

    January 8, 2011 at 10:02 pm
  • Reply Vera

    ‘Reaching your full potential’ certainly does not mean you are running/training as hard and as fast as you possibly can all the time. That phrase is so subjective to me – and it’s not for anyone else to use to pass judgement on another person. You hit the nail on the head Danica – run for you. :-D

    January 9, 2011 at 6:55 am
  • Reply HappyFeet26_2

    Nice post Danica. Love how your response was thoughtful and classy.

    We ALL run for different reasons, and we’re ALL in different places. Some have “been there, done that” some are striving to reach their personal goals now. We all share a passion for running no matter what the training or the goal.

    Many people can PR on the Less is More approach. I tried it years ago. I loved it. I did not PR doing it, but many have. Currently, I am running a LOT of miles (because I WANT to, I have time to, and my body allows it), but in the next few years I will go back to the 3 day per wk program. As you say, the key is to find what works for YOU and what YOU are motivated and have time to do. Congrats for you wise insight at such a young age. I’m sure running helps with that…

    January 9, 2011 at 8:44 am
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