We talk a lot about the pure satisfaction of crossing a finish line and knowing you’ve achieved something you once thought beyond reach.
We see the big smiles of #medalmonday on Instagram.
We hear rumors of the elusive runner’s high.
But when you see most runners out logging miles, they aren’t grinning from ear to ear. In fact, they often look quite serious or downright a bit haggard depending on the day.
In fact, for all the things we say about running, very rarely do we say “oh boy today’s run was just so fun“.
I mean we call groups that aren’t a race “fun runs” to eliminate pressure, but none-the-less rarely run them while high-fiving eachother and saying “this is just the most fun ever!“
Now there are of course times where that isn’t the case and we find ourselves, talking and giggling and the miles flying by.
Or where we finish a Ragnar that wore us to the bone and then look at each other with slap happy grins.
But still…is running fun?
I mean there are thousands of variations on the shirt “Running Sucks” or “I only run when chased“. That alone should probably get me to give up the cause. But I’m an endurance runner, so persevere I shall.Shirt from Sarah Marie Design!
Do We Really Enjoy Running?
Am I having an existential crisis? My whole world is running. My job basically depends on convincing you that it’s fun right?
But is it?!
After 17 years running, 20,000+ miles, and 2000+ articles on running, I feel like this is a question I need to answer.
The only way to do this is clearly in a super scientific way to ensure that my results are considered valid to the rest of the running world.
Step 1, Google “how to set up a scientific experiment”!
- Make an observation.
- Ask a question.
- Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
- Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
- Test the prediction.
- Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or predictions.
My Running Experiement
Observation: Runners aren’t often smiling while they run.
Question: Does this mean running is not enjoyable?
Hypothesis: Running is not fun.
Prediction: This is horseshit and I’ll prove everyone wrong!
Ok that last piece doesn’t feel very scientific, but then again I was a journalism major, so take what you get folks.
Realistically, this is my idea of a valid decision making tree…always buy the running shoes.
Testing the hypothesis!
Here’s the fun part, wait I can’t use that word it clearly invalidates the experiment to describe it with the word we’re trying to prove. Ok fine, this is the part where I get to run, talk to runners and find out what their take is on running.
How do we define fun?
Laughing so hard you cry from a night of charades with friends is fun.
Curling up with a mug of hot cocoa (dairy free please), your favorite person and a holiday movie is fun.
Planning your next big vacation is fun.
Is doing something hard for hours on end, really fun?
Well honestly no, the act of running in that moment isn’t always fun. And yet there’s something about tackling that challenge that makes all of that HARD…dare I say it…FUN.
- We derive confidence from facing challenges
- The challenge of running inspires us to try other hard things
- The work requires us to focus, which enhances our experience
- It’s a way to challenge ourselves that’s not required by work or family, it’s our choice
All right, none of that really aligns with the above gut busting definitions of fun. So let’s take this from a different angle.
Now, here’s where my bias is going to show.
I live running. I’ve made it my job, my hobby, my non-stop area of learning, so yes I kinda think this whacky sport is fun!
I think runsploring in new cities is one of the most fun ways to experience a place.
I think running while singing loudly in my head and miming drums to my favorite pump up song is fun.
I think learning from a great podcast while simultaneously moving my body is really fun.
I think feeling the sun on my face and the sweat pouring off my face is fun.
And yet, I suppose none of that really speaks to the actual feeling of putting down one foot after the other for mile after mile in itself as being enjoyable.Come share your insights...is running fun??? If not, why are we doing it? #running #runchat Click To Tweet
Running may not be fun in the sense of being lighthearted (except those undie runs), by its definition of something which we can delight or take pleasure in. Meaning it’s possible to enjoy running without always considering the actual run a moment of merriment.
Therefore I shall rework my hypothesis to be that running is enjoyable…and I WIN.
That’s how science works right? You don’t like the answer, you change the question…and you narrow your experiment group to 1. Haha!
How to make running fun?
Still feeling like, no thanks Amanda, I don’t enjoy running and your little list above isn’t convincing me. Well then, let me run through the most common issues I hear and how you might reconsider.
More of than not I hear three things from those who don’t run:
- I would, but I have bad knees
- I would, but I can’t breathe
- I would, but I get so bored
Yeah I’ve been there. Knee surgery in high school and one again in 2017…I run…I’m not in pain. It’s not bad for your knees according to MANY doctors. So read this on taking care of your knees.
Surprise, we all feel that way. First you gotta slow down, no need to be Usain Bolt and then read these tips on how to breathe while running.
Ahh this is where we can really make some progress! See you just haven’t tapped in to all the reasons you’re out there running yet. You think it’s just about burning calories and so of course you’re watching every second tick by like waiting for the microwave to ding.
At the end of the day, none of us will all love the same things. I mean my mom things a BLT is one of the greatest foods on earth and I think it’s slimy tomatoes and boring lettuce.
But if you are going to choose running, you might as well enjoy it! You don’t have to do it, so let’s all see what we can do to make it more F-U-N.
What’s your conclusion is the act of running fun?
Do you enjoy it?
Other ways to connect with Amanda
Instagram Daily Fun: RunToTheFinish
Facebook Community Chatter: RunToTheFinish
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