This post was originally part of Episode 394 released in March of 2017 and is more or less copy and pasted from that post. The audio, however, is a new take on the topic.
Running should be fun. Always.
Whatever other reasons that you have for running, from health to social to competition, first and foremost your running needs to be something that you enjoy doing. Something that is fun.
Otherwise, what is the point?
It Can Happen to Any of Us
You may be saying to yourself right now that you love running so much that there’s no way it could ever be less than fun.
Yes, it can.
It’s happened to me, and it can happen to any runner.
There have been times in my life that running has become a chore. A task. Something that I had to do.
And in those moments, I can tell you that running was anything but fun.
And as a coach and someone that “does running” for a living, when running starts to suck that poses a bit of a problem.
Thankfully, every time I’ve had running lose its luster for me, I’ve been able to bounce back in short order.
No Matter Your Goals, Running Can Still Be Fun
There are a handful of folks in the Coterie that are struggling, to varying degrees, with making sure that their running remains fun.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some things you can do that will (hopefully) bring some joy back to your running life.
Take a Little Break
Absence can certainly make the heart grow fonder.
If your running is becoming a chore, stop running.
I’m not asking you to do anything drastic, just don’t run for 2-4 weeks, and I bet you’ll be chomping at the bit to get back out there when your self-imposed running moratorium is up.
Use that time away from running to improve other aspects of your running. Try some yoga or pilates routines. Do some strength training. Jump on a bike for some cardio work.
Keep being active, just don’t run for a couple of weeks and see how much better you feel.
Stop Racing, Start Running
For those of us that are at least slightly competitive, races can be both a blessing and a curse.
Yes, a race can help us lock into the training and motivate us to do the things necessary on race day to meet our goals.
But a race can also provide extra stress because, well, it’s a race!
If you feel like you’re getting more anxious about your race day performance, no matter how fast you may be, I’d challenge you to sign up for a race and not race it.
I’m not asking you to throw your money away. Not at all.
I’m just asking you to run instead of race.
Talk to other runners. Give high fives to the spectators. Complement people that made a clever sign.
Just be in the moment and don’t worry about your splits or your pace or anything other than having fun.
Make It Social
A lot of runners, and I’m as guilty of this as anyone, put their earbuds in at the start of the run and don’t take them out until they are finished.
I mean, I love listening to podcasts or music while running as much as the next guy but try leaving the music at home and bringing a friend with you instead.
Sharing miles and conversation with another runner, even if it’s someone you don’t know that well, is awesome!
Shoot, it’s the exact reason that I started my show!
We are social creatures, even those of us that are very much introverted.
You know how I know that? Because I’m a HUGE introvert.
But let me run with someone for 8-10 miles, and it won’t be long before we are chatting about “running, life, and everything in between.”
So find someone to run with, leave the earbuds at home, and add a social dynamic to your running.
And if you’re someone that legitimately lives in an area where you are THE ONLY runner, jump online. Come join us in the Facebook group, become part of the Coterie, or fire up Twitter and start talking with other runners.
The social dynamic of the running community is amazing, and having those connections can really help put some fun in your run.
Work With a Coach
Hear me out here.
I know this may seem self-serving, and I suppose to a certain extent it is, but working with a coach can actually make running more fun.
Any number of reasons.
- Oft-Injured: Being injured sucks. If you seem to be injured regularly, a good coach can help figure out how to stop the cycle of run, get injured, recover, run, get injured, etc.
- No Details: Running is fun. Putting together a training routine can be tedious. If you don’t like putting in the time required to create a good training plan, let someone else do it for you.
- Too Much Monotony: Are you sick and tired of doing the same things ad nauseam? Even if you’re seeing results, it can get a bit boring doing the same thing week after week and month after month. That’s where a coach can help by mixing in different types of workouts.
- Support Beyond Running: Yes, hiring a coach can (and should) help you primarily with your running. But as any running coach knows, we tend to dabble in amateur psychology from time to time as well. You might think you’re not progressing well, but a good coach can talk you off the ledge and help you realize that everything is going to be ok.
No One Size Fits All
As always, there is no one size fits all formula to apply to all runners to help them rediscover the fun to be had by runners.
If/when you find yourself struggling with your running, my hope is that these suggestions will help you figure out what you need to do to have fun running again.
And if there is anything I can do to help, whether I’m coaching you or not, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help you get started.
Becuase seriously yall, running should always be fun!
Has Running Ever Become a Chore for You? How Do You Keep Running Fun?
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