When you love something, it can be hard to let it go. Especially if what you love has been with your through some of the happiest and most joyful moments of life, as well as the harder parts. We form very personal, very intimate bonds with some of these things in our lives that are with us through it all and are there to see us through to the other side - and running is certainly one of these things. We can experience joy from running, and we may choose to run because we are joyful. Or we might suffer and feel the pain that running and racing and becoming emotionally invested in running might bring, or we may choose to run because we are dealing with pain in our lives elsewhere. When running becomes that embedded into our lives, it can seem like an impossible decision to make to choose to give it up; even when our bodies or families and friends are telling us we are ready. But how can we know for sure when it is time to finally hang up our laces?
You need to have a very honest conversation with yourself in which you ask yourself the tough questions. These are questions like do I find real joy from running still? Is running benefiting me and improving my life on the whole like it used to? Is it helping me to be a better friend, wife or husband, mother or father, or human being in general? Do I need it in order to feel sane? Or am I feeling burned out? Is my body overly tired? Do I dread running but feel like I "should" or "need" to be doing it? Is it getting in the way of my relationships and stopping me from being the best version of myself?
Once you've asked yourself those questions and answered them honestly, you'll know what the right decision is. It might take some time to process and accept the truth, and that's okay. But once you've finally answered and accepted the truth, you can make the best decision for yourself, for your health, and for your loved ones whether or not to stop running. If running truly brings you joy and you genuinely love it, then there's probably nothing wrong with continuing on! But only you can know.