Finding Enjoyment In Running

Let’s begin today with this quote:

Here’s a specific example. Ina recent conversation, Adam Goucher, a former NCAA champion and Olympian, told me, “At this level, you’ve got to work your ass off, but you’ve got to love it; it’s got to be fun.” I hear this all the time from elite runners, and I see that many of them make every effort to maximize the enjoyment they derive from their training. Indeed, they are much more serious about enjoyment than the typical non-elite competitive runner.

Exerpt from : “RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel” by Matt Fitzgerald

I recall a statement by John Williams (the guitarist not the composer) that went something like this, “if you don’t enjoy practice, then find a way to make it fun.” Williams was an elite athlete from the shoulders down while playing the guitar. It is interesting that these two, very distant fields, hold that having fun/enjoyment is one of the main keys to being successful at it.

I have told many people in the past that I hate to run. I’ve said the only time I feel it is necessary to run is when someone with a gun or an angry dog is chasing me. Neither of those has ever happened to me so up until this point I hated to run. In my tennis playing days, I only ran to increase my fitness to achieve the goal of beating another player. This does not count as having fun when running. It is closer to the dog chasing me because my coach was usually the one instigating the running.

Upon beginning to read the book quoted above, I was struck by this “fun” in running. I want to have fun running (and swimming and cycling). It will be one of the mental barriers I face while working towards the goal of the Olympic triathlon in September. I am not sure if or when a change will occur but I am hoping it will.

As I ran today, I noticed myself focusing on the “work” of running. In a moment, the idea of fun flashed before from my reading. Then another thought from a self-help book I read a long time ago came to mind, “when you make a sales call, be sure to smile before dialing the number and talking to the prospect.” You obviously know what I began to do. I started to smile. Just the act of smiling made me happier. That extended into the my running.

I’m not saying I was all of a sudden transformed and ran without stress for the remainder of my workout. But, something definitely changed as I continually reminded myself to smile. I also became more thankful for the ability to run and the time to run. I even noticed an obviously stressed out driver that wasn’t smiling and didn’t smile back at me. There might be something to this smiling/joy/happy thing. It’s only been one day of reorienting my thoughts during running, but it was a good day of training.

Week 7, Day 3. Done.

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