This time last year, running was what I did to feel productive. During my job search, running schedules kept me active, disciplined, and aware of what day it was. I took great joy in the exertion of running as it gave me a place to direct my surplus of energy and attention. The increased level of overall fitness was a nice bonus as well.
As work picked up and I had more and more things on my plate that I could pursue to be productive, my enjoyment of running waned. I met my half marathon goal and had no immediate impetus, no looming race to keep me on a training schedule. I was looking forward to my runs less and the heat of summer made me even less fired up to get outside.
Maybe it's the turning weather or maybe it's just cyclical. Maybe both; who knows? But one night last week, I got to a point of frustration with my work and I got the feeling that I just needed to run. The weather was crummy and my training plan didn't have me scheduled to run that day, but every step of that 3 mile run on a rainy night did more good for my body and my psyche than I could have anticipated. For the first time in months, I felt purely joyful to be out on the road and running. Getting a nice, unplugged run in cool, rainy weather can be very therapeutic.
As disconcerting as it can be to feel a passion fading, it's even more satisfying to reconnect to that passion. The situation also made me very grateful that I developed a habit for running while I did feel enthusiastic for it and that helped me sustain my training in the times when the last thing I wanted to do was go outside and run. I'm certainly a believer that the times I don't want to run are important times to crank it out, but I've recently discovered that it's equally important to run when it is fun to avoid getting burned out.