I was chatting with someone the other day and they mentioned that after a recent goal race, they kind of gave up on running and switched to a different sport. They took it up a few months ago and managed to lose a lot of weight along the way, which was a big goal of theirs. But they found it to not be the most exciting of sports, the race was a struggle and now they want to try a different activity.
I completely understand. Running is most definitely not for everyone. I have mentioned many times before that I think it is essential that we all find an activity we enjoy. If you do not, it will soon become a dreaded thing we “have” to do, and before you know it you won’t be running anymore or finding excuses to get out of it.
However, I also know that for this particular person, there were times that they did enjoy running. And they definitely liked the benefits they received in return. The weight was coming off a lot quicker and they felt really good about themselves. Endorphins are always great for boosting our spirits. And if we are going to be honest, there are very few activities that truly burn calories quite like running.
But here is the problem, this sport is kind of like a lot of other fine things in life. It is an acquired taste. Like the first time you tried wine or a fancy cheese, it often isn’t love at first sight. There are a few things working against us when we first begin. It can burn our lungs and make us breath heavy. Our legs ache and it is a huge struggle to get through those first few miles. Mentally, this sport is also very difficult to push through at first. Honestly, this feeling can last a long time!
The only way to get to that point of really enjoying running is to break past the mental and physical barriers. We often have to learn to push ourselves hard enough that we get that runner’s high. Neither of these are easy feats. And that is why runners are often a very special breed. We tend to be a bit Type A. Go ahead, call us crazy. We are often gluttons for punishment. Sure we are loners. How else would we go torture ourselves alone on a path for endless hours. We are addicts. And we often prefer to get our drugs in the form of runner’s highs instead of libations or other ways. Although we are also usually the biggest connoisseurs and snobs when it comes to micro brews and wine too.
Yet, if you were to ask a runner if it was love at first sight I think you would find a great divide. Yes there are those nuts out there that laced on their shoes the first time and like Forrest Gump ran endlessly without abandon (Dean Karnazes is the first to come to mind). But most of us have stories of those first few months where we trudged along begrudgingly. I myself used to run 3 miles each day and counted down the weekend til Sunday, my day off. I certainly wasn’t looking forward to those 3 miles each day. I definitely had moments where I hated it.
And somehow I slowly became addicted. Now 3 miles seems like a warm up to me most days. I watched with envy as my husband logged his 18 and 20 mile long runs during his marathon training and my pregnancy. I flip through running magazines and dog ear pages. I annoy friends with topics they find incredibly boring. The list goes on and on.
So don’t lose hope if you are just beginning or if you can’t quite get past that initial dread of the run. It takes patience. It requires getting out of your comfort zone and getting past the point where your body and mind revolt. Once your body acclimates and learns to adjust, you will be one of us crazy running nuts too. I can almost guarantee it.
What made you learn to love running? Was it love at first sight?