Running is not always easy to love. Whether you are training hard for a goal or just running for enjoyment or fitness, at some point, you will not be saying “This is great!” or “I really want to go run for an hour!” Even as running is known as a sport that’s not so lovable, more and more people find themselves taking up running and sticking to it. Even more, they find that they love it!
Are we just sick and twisted? Do we just love torturing ourselves? Quite the opposite. We love ourselves. We want to take care of our bodies and minds. We want a high quality of life. We want to see just what we are made of. We want to go for goals we once thought impossible. And actually, to contradict myself, we borderline torture ourselves so that when things in life come up that are not so ideal, we will be better equipped to handle them. Regardless of what reasons you have found (or are still trying to find) that make you love to run, what is most important is that you do, in fact, love it. It’s important to FIND your love for running. It’s important to REMEMBER your love for running.
Find your love for running.
If you’re new to running, don’t give up until you love it. Begin to notice the small things that have changed since you started running like decrease in stress level and anxiety, deeper sleep, and better appetite. You may notice higher mental acuity and physical energy levels, and physical strength and endurance- not just when you’re working out, but through your work week. Your overall health will improve and immune system strengthen.
Do you love the feeling of getting in a good sweat? The time to think or pray? A hobby to care about? The community of runners around you all seeking the same things? Race day hype? Striving for a goal? Have you been a runner for years but don’t know what you love about it? Whatever it is, find it.
Remember your love for running.
Once you have discovered what it is, remember it. At some point you will forget it. All of the important benefits of running are lost without consistency. When you are struggling to get out of bed in the morning or feeling tired after work, the thought that you “should” run will hardly get you out the door. The thought that, deep down, you “want to” is more likely to get you to lace up. Sometimes the “should” and the “want to” are the same thing, but it’s the difference in thought process that produces different outcomes. It’s important to remember how you “want to” run when you really don’t, because the more consistent you are, the more you will love running down the road (pun intended).
This morning I went for a run. Yesterday, I ran 20 miles; today, the plan is to run 20 as well, but broken into two runs. With headphones in my ears, I plan to purposely run extra slow and easy and be cognizant of foot-strike, arm swing, cadence, and to make my left and right sides more identical and efficient. I’m coming back from tightness in my left quad, left plantar fascia, and currently running on a bruised pinky toe in the very thick of marathon training. At mile 5, I stopped (not literally, I stopped thinking about my form, etc.) and thought about how, in the midst of all this, I just loved being out there. I looked out across the Pacific Ocean. I looked up to the sky and noticed the air. I thanked God for the blessing to get to be where I was at that moment. I thought about how I loved being in the very middle of my marathon build-up, the grind, the all-out pursuit of my goals that even two years ago I thought would be too far out of reach to even consider.