A reader (who just finished her first 5K) asked me a simple, yet extremely complicated question:
“Does running get easier? More enjoyable? Did you like it from the start?”
Up until that point I had been known to hate running. I know hate is not a nice word, but let’s just say running pissed me off. Anytime I had tried to run I thought I had to go balls out and sprint the whole time. Feeling like you want to throw up and can’t breathe for a few miles will make you hate the sport.
When I started training for the marathon and finally had the guidance of a coach, I realized that most runs (with the exception of speed workouts) were not meant to be done frantically and full speed ahead. Long runs were actually supposed to occur at paces where you could carry on a conversation! Imagine that. Once I started running with this in mind, I actually started to like it.
However, like I told you the other day, running is never easy for me. If I am running long, I start to tire. If I am doing a tempo run, I have to concentrate on holding the pace. And, God forbid, if I am doing intervals, I have to try to just stay up right and not crap myself. Sure, I have runs that feel better than others. But, I can’t say my runs are ever particularly effortless.
What has become easier is the mental part of running. After putting in thousands of miles, I no longer question my ability to go certain distances, or to be able to continue on when I am tired. I have more confidence, and that has made my running easier.
Has running become enjoyable? Hell yes. Sometimes the most enjoyable part of a run is when it is over and I am at home with a big cup of coffee. Sometimes the most enjoyable part of a run is literally feeling my body shedding all of my worries, concerns and stressors as the miles unfold before me. Sometimes the most enjoyable part of a run is that I am forced to stay in the moment and all I can hear is my breathing and my steps on the ground.
Every single run for me brings joy in one form or another, even if it isn’t easy and I’m miserable. Does that makes sense? In that regard, running is an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp or butt head. A love/hate relationship.
Did I like it from the start? Yes. I fell hard for running after my first marathon. Since then I have done 5 more marathons, about 20 half marathons, relays and countless other races (there might have been an Ironman in there). I will say what I do not like: 5Ks. They simply hurt.
So, now it’s your turn.
Do you think running gets easier and/or more enjoyable?
Did you love running from the start?
PS: Heidi wanted me to tell you she had a personal best today. She ran further than she ever has before. 6 miles. She got tired and gassy, just like me, but she loved every minute of it.