Goals are gateways to what we desire. And the true desire is to achieve the feelings you get when working towards those goals. Achieving the goal is the cherry on top of everything else you have been experiencing along the way.
The training plan doesn't really mean much either. It helps, but it isn't the purpose to any of this. It also is a gateway to getting us to what we want... not the goal, but the enjoyment we get in moving towards the goal.
The running reminders that I have written throughout the month of December are probably the closest thing to why we run. The goals are good and the training plans are there to help lead us to those goals, but jumping in an ice bath, running hill repeats, and crossing the threshold of heat exhaustion are the things that keep me excited about running. The pain we suffer and the scars that remain are the things that define us as runners.
Here is the post that got me rambling on:
Ingrid, thanks for stopping by my blog. I wanted to comment on this post. You raise a good point that many runners and athletes in general have been struggling with for years. There is no sure fire answer that will fit in a box, pill, or drink. I think the answer is relative to the person asking the question.
For me, I need reminders. I need goals. I need to feel the pain of a hill workout and the joy that comes with that suffering. I also need to run with my dog as well as run off the cement trail into the woods where the air is humid and thick and the ground is moist but firm.
For you, it might be this blog and your commitment to sharing with friends, family, and fellow runners like me. Whatever the answer is... it is yours and yours alone. You are a runner. You are an individual. The physical and mental challenges are simply byproducts of this thing you love to do.