Running Isn’t Always Love At First Sight

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.

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.

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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.

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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?

29 thoughts on “Running Isn’t Always Love At First Sight

  1. Great post. I myself love running and have from the beginning. I think that because I use the K.I.S.S. principle for my running goals which are to run for as long as my body will allow me to. And thats it. The numbers I strive to acheive are not personal bests or distances but rather are my cholesterol level, blood pressure, and weight. Sure I do set some short term goals to make it more interesting at times. Currently I am on a running streak. But I don’t register for races or stick to strict training plans, I prefer to run when I can and taking a few days off is okay with me. And despite my approach I do still experience lows as well with my running.

  2. Ain’t this the truth. I didn’t love running until about 6 years ago, and I’ve been doing it all my life (obviously). But it is for just that reason that I love it–it waited for me 😀

  3. The sight of my shrinking gut in the mirror is what I loved about running. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I moved on from running but that’s where it all started and for that, I am grateful.

  4. Definitely NOT love at first sight. More of a “why the hell did I sign up for this race” / “wow I’m out of shape” and now I’m obsessed. If I don’t run almost every day I feel incomplete. Running gives me such a sense of balance and accomplishment, that there’s nothing else like it!

    • It’s funny how quickly it can go from something we totally dread so much to something we need in our daily lives. I’m the same way now. I’m not very likeable without my daily run!

  5. Great post! For me, it wasn’t necessarily love at first site. It was more like a crush. Then, during a tough time in my life, it became my soulmate- my control in a time of chaos.

    We’ve been happily together ever since. 🙂

  6. Great post, soo accurate! Seven years ago, I signed up for a 5k race and could barely finish it–I realized at that moment that I needed to get back in shape.

  7. So true! I used to believe that people who ran “for fun” were 100% out of their minds. Then I ran my first 10k, crossed the finish line to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and realized I was that kind of crazy too! My relationship with running (like any relationship) still has its ups and downs, but it’s an overwhelmingly positive force in my life. We’re in it for the long-haul. 🙂

  8. I started loving running when I didn’t have to do it for training when in competitive soccer. It became fun when it was relaxed and on my own time…not sprints, fartleks etc. More recently, I’ve come to love running because it gives me time to lose myself in the day 😉

  9. I love the alone time, and the chance to challenge myself. Having said that, I love that I can change the plan at anytime, if I’m tired I can slow, if I’m feeling it I’ll run flat out…

  10. The writer Dorothy Parker said (or people say she said), “I hate writing. I love having written.” That’s almost always how I feel about running. My body doesn’t want me to do it, but it is always worth it for every reason.

  11. This was a GREAT post!! Running was DEFINITELY not love at first site! I originally started to run to get the leg of the triathlon I HATED the most! Running became a sport that I grew to love. I eventually loved it because I had those days..those Mommy moments when I needed something for myself…to do BY MYSELF! And that’s how I fell for running! I didn’t need anything but me, my shoes and the road. And I found that the more I just ran for the shear clarity, I wanted to do more. Granted… I’m not breaking ANY RECORDS over here, but I still love the sport!!

  12. You’re right. I sometimes have to remind myself that not everybody (or even everybody who runs) loves it as much as I do. I’m one of those nutsos that fell in love at first step, but it’s definitely been a challenging relationship at times 🙂

  13. Fantastic post! I think for some of us Type A’s, once we set our minds to it we are 1,000% committed. I took some time off this year to concentrate on studies and I regret it. I’m back slamming pavement and I am the happiest I’ve been in a while. Thanks for sharing!

  14. This is so true! I’ve had so many false starts with running and gone through phases of absolutely hating it. But I’m persevering this time, taking it easier on myself and focusing on recovery. It’s so great to hear people talk about the love-hate relationship you often have with running!

    • So glad you are pushing through this time. I think we all need to know that the love and hate comes and goes. It is normal but if you stick with it there is a lot to be gained.

  15. My love for running was years in the making. When I was younger I played soccer and softball, so there was a lot of running within those sports. I wouldn’t say I loved it so much then, but I didn’t hate it. I took about 3-4 years off from playing any sports and started to miss it when I went to college. So I went for a run, and I have loved it ever since. I think when I started running for myself is when I realized how much I loved it. I don’t see my life without it now.

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