Late last summer, just before I started running again I read "Born to Run" by Chrisopher McDougall. Reading this book really helped to get me back at it. Runners and sane people alike that are looking for a good read should check this book out. It is very well written and I find a lot of the arguments that Mr. McDougall makes regarding "modern" running shoes quite interesting. I can't say that I have bought into everything that he says in the book. I haven't attempted to convert to barefoot running, at least not yet. I HAVE worked hard to change the mechanics of my running and I have worked hard to change my attitude about running. Mostly I've tried to keep in mind that I run because it is fun. I enjoy it a lot. For me, it's really important to keep in mind that I run because I like to run.
One of the things I've done to try and keep that in focus is to ditch my iPod. If someone suggested that I do that as recently as last Spring I would have said no way. In the past I wouldn't even consider running a 5K that didn't allow headphones. A few months ago I deliberately left the iPod at home when I went on a training run because I wanted to focus on my form and I didn't want any distractions. No iPod, no watch, nothing extra. I found that run to be the most enjoyable experience running that I have had in a long time and I was hooked. I haven't run with the iPod since then and haven't regretted it once. I have gone back to using the watch to keep track of my time and distance. I keep an eye on it while I run to see what my pace is, but I try not to get too caught up in the numbers head games.
Recently my times have been going down. I'm not sure if that is because of the changes I have made or just from the fact that I'm running more. I'm not overly concerned about running at a certain time anymore except from the stand point that when I do actually run in my race I would like to finish in under 5 hours. If I can average a 10:00 mile I'll come in at around 4:35:00 but I plan to stop and enjoy the sites, drink Gatorade at the tables, etc.. so 5 hours is a good goal.
The race isn't until March so I've got some time to wait before I actually start training. Until then I'm just going to keep having fun.