Why Running Shouldn’t SuckMay 11, 2021
(I try not to “should” on myself or others, but I’m to digress here for a little bit with a “shouldn’t.”)
Let’s throw back to 2011 briefly : Living in beautiful San Jose California, I trained for and ran the infamous Bay to Breakers 10K in San Francisco, then the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in San Jose.
To put it simply … it was torture.
Physically, it felt like someone had thrown ground glass into my hip joints, and mentally, it was an ongoing internal dialogue on my failure and misery. I was fitted for new shoes. I went to physical therapy and chiropractic care appointments. I made new playlists on my lime green iPod Nano. I ran in beautiful outdoor spaces on 70 degree, sunny days. But RUNNING. SUCKED.
I’ve since realized that this was, at best, unnecessary and unproductive and, at worst, injurious to my sense of self and my body in the long run.
I’m just going to put this here, and you can re-read it as many times as you’d like:
RUNNING. SHOULDN’T. SUCK.
(It also won’t always be easy or comfortable or your favorite thing. Nothing that makes us stronger or better always is. Some days it might be a crucible. But it shouldn’t suck.)
- Pleasure is important for your mental health. Experiencing some form of PLEASURE as a result of exercise is one of the most important components to gathering the health benefits of the challenge and work. Exercise (just like good food) will create a dopamine response in your brain, telling you YES! MORE! Instead of creating a negative feedback loop, stress hormone responses and poor mood.
“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people JUST don’t kill their husbands!” -Elle Woods, Legally Blond
- Pleasure is imperative for both short and long term exercise compliance. Inconvenience and pain are some of the biggest reasons people quit anything! It’s pretty likely you won’t have a bad McDonald’s Drive Thru habit if it’s a 20 min drive to get there, then someone hits you in the knee with a bat while you order. The same goes for exercise! Running should have an equal pleasurable reward (physical, mental and energetic) to the amount of energy you put into sticking to your training routine.
- Physics and biomechanics are your FRIENDS. We are built of these amazing slings and springs of tissue and bone that - when used right - absorb shock and make us superheroes of physics! Long term use of our amazing bodies the way we use them these days, however, leads to patterns of imbalance in most people that leave us fighting with gravity. When your slings and springs and brain are all on the same page about how to work WITH gravity, inertia, momentum and the other physics-y things, running becomes a practice in efficiency!
- There’s almost always a smarter way to train. If you’re struggling with fatigue, feeling like you can’t breathe, joint pain or mental struggles during your runs … there’s almost always a better way. Often, that means optimizing your training, rather than just going longer and harder with each training run, cross training and addressing respiratory and muscular weaknesses that are causing you to work harder than necessary to cover the desired distance at the desired speed. If you’re suffering, ask a running coach for help with training SMARTER and HAPPIER, rather than just harder! Click HERE to read aout our coaches.
If running just SUCKS, stop. STOP! Back up your training until you enjoy it again, call a running coach Click HERE to contact us for help, pause and do something else for a day or a week.
We feel so strongly that it shouldn’t suck that we have a workshop this month called RUN HAPPY! You can register HERE (If you can’t be there LIVE, don’t fret! Just sign up anyway and you’ll get the replay and worksheets.)
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