Rediscover the Joy in Running: Reconnect with Why You Run

running with the seagulls

Has your run become just another task on your to-do list that you need to check off so you can then do the next thing and the next and the next? Does it feel like a dreaded obligation? If so, you can change this and in doing so you can make running enjoyable, as it should be!

Why You Run

Think about this for a moment: why did you start running in the first place?

There had to have been some benefit, some goodness that you gleaned from it. Maybe you wanted to be healthy, to lose weight, meet new people, or maybe you’ve been running so long you’ve forgotten.

Chances are that when you got into running, you experienced even more benefits than you initially were seeking. These might be things like the runners high, more balanced moods, high sense of accomplishment, confidence, the feeling of a strong body, the exhilaration of breathing fresh air, time to listen to your music, and many more.

All of these benefits are what we need to reconnect with in order to get the joy back into our running. Here’s a few ways you can do this:

  1. Meditate on it. Before your run take a couple minutes to close your eyes and think of a few of the benefits you receive from running.
  2. Write a letter to “My Dear Running.” This may sound silly, but it can help you to FEEL the goodness you receive from running by writing a letter “to Running” to express your gratitude and anything else you’d like to say. Heck this could become a running journal which would also be a great habit. It makes it more personal, which in turn makes it more joyous.
  3. Make a List. Write out an extensive list of all the benefits you receive from running. Write down every single silly thing. (my thighs don’t rub anymore, feeling the wind on my face, being part of the “running club,” you name it!) Keep it posted near your sneakers or the door. Add to it from time to time and be sure to read it once in a while too!
  4. Be Present. While you run be there. Don’t be worrying about your task list or your problems. Be in the moment. Engage all your senses. Focus on how you feel, what you are seeing and sensing. As thoughts arise, bring yourself back to the moment and all the good things that exercise is doing for you.
  5. Positive Intention. Think positive encouraging thoughts. Give yourself praise for running no matter how slow. Remember, you’re running while most people are not. That in itself is huge! With every thought that arises, choose to see it from the positive perspective. This magnifies your energy as opposed to seeing the problems which actually steals your energy!
  6. Incorporate Running Mantras. These phrases used repetitively as you run serve to bolster your mind and your energy. And they really work!! You can also use Life Improving Mantras as well.
  7. Take a Day Off. Allow yourself to miss running, to rest, or to move your body in new ways. Using other muscles in other activities will enhance your health and your running.
  8. Improve Your Rest. Make sure that you are well rested and supplied with what your body needs. Don’t run hungry or thirsty. Don’t run if you are tired. You’ll run yourself down and running will not be fun. Instead take a nap, take a day off, eat a banana, and drink some water. You wouldn’t drive a car without gas. Make sure your body is set up for success before asking it to perform.
  9. Listen to Music. A lot of people already do this, but if you don’t, you might want to consider it. Your favorite songs can really make a difference! Get an ipod and enjoy some musical joy while you run. Conversely, if you always listen to music, try it without sometimes. Clear your mind and enjoy nature.

Running should be something joyful. There’s no need for it to be drudgery. Change your thoughts and you can change your experience!

What do you think? Please share your experience and thoughts in the comments.

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photo by: eschipul

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  1. Nick May 15, 2013
    • Kris June 4, 2013
  2. Pingback: Mindfulness | The Running Grammy January 4, 2014

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