Running Shorts: I do not feel like running

I have been very fortunate that I get to talk to many individuals as part of my job. In one of those conversations, I was talking to Ben about running, training, and the different distances. Also a runner, Ben was starting to get back into the routine of finding time to run and being active. This was not the first time we talked about running, he always posts great questions and since I love to talk about running I do not mind. Recently he asked the following question that took me by surprise, “how do you find the will to go out for a run when you are not feeling like it?”   I have to be honest, I did not immediately have a good response in regards to how do I handle those days. At that time I quickly ponder a bit and provided a canned answer to the question.

During my next run, I started to think about the answer I provided and I wonder how do I really go about it when there is a hard workout or I am not feeling in the zone or I am just tired (mentally or physically). As I reflected more and more, I came to the realization that I do not get many of those days often. I could not remember when was the last time and what I did. I think for me, running is part of my lifestyle. Do not get me wrong, not all the runs are fun, easy. There is not perfect weather every time I go out for a run. And there are times that legs are feeling like lead, dead weight or they are so stiff that those initial steps of the warm-up are not fun. But one thing kept me going, putting one step after the other, making me want to wake up at 4:30 AM, 5:00 AM, or 5:30 AM to get ready for a training run, the feeling at the end of accomplishment.

Being able to cover that distance, cover the target workout, the realization that I was able to head out when others can’t or won’t. The familiar faces and people that recognize you, the ones that drive by and wave or honk their horns in solidarity. Other individuals running or walking, they smile or wave at you and sometimes provide a quick shout-out. The ones at the crossing or street light and ask how is your run going? How far are you running? or which race is your next event? or just a simple, have a good run. The great conversations of group run or with just another runner.

Being able to listen to music, audiobooks, podcasts, learn something new. To reflect around other points of view and opinions that are sometimes conflicting or enlightening. To think about work, to-dos lists, brainstorm ideas, root cause problems, and strategize solutions and approaches. To reflect on life, how far I have gone (sometimes literally), health, areas for improvements and plan ahead.  To ponder about goals and whether those are the right ones to have and how they align with my values. And sometimes just feel nostalgic when I think about the past, what I used to be and who I am today.

Just recently, I received the following feedback and comment that I think also relates to this topic,

“It is clearly and scientifically proven that regular walking and running is good for your health. I started running again for my health but more recently after a year of running, I ran for my mental health. For the 60 minutes that I am running to clear my mind of any negative thoughts and worries and there has been a lot to worry about in 2020.  I started running for physical health but I continue to run for my mental health.”

Thank you Janet for sharing this with me.

Each run provides me with an opportunity to gain, grow and become a better person. When I wake up in the morning and I feel stiff, heavy and a little bit down, I might reflect on that opportunity that I cannot let pass. Because the benefit and positivism I get from the run at the end outweigh missing out on the opportunity. Happy Running!