Does running ever become enjoyable?
“Does running ever become enjoyable?”
That was the question posed by a running club mate as we both recovered from a chip-timed track 5k.
What he was getting at, in joking obviously, was the pain. You know you’re going to go through it. You know it will hit you and your brain will tell you “Stop!”. You know if you’re trying, you’ll endure self-inflicted pain.
When you push yourself, in either training or during an event/race, you go through this. Anyone doing any kind of endurance sport knows it. So why bother?
Well for a start, there are the endorphins on finishing. As GB ultra runner, Robbie Britton says: “…your short-term memory plays tricks on you. After your legs stop hurting…you only remember the elation.” That feeling of elation, in body and mind, after you have completed a session…it’s the great thing about any strenuous exercise.
Then there is the runners high. In his ground-breaking book “Born To Run”, Chris McDougall describes how the natural engaging of body and mind, causes our brain to release endorphins to such an extent that a feeling of extreme euphoria can be experienced for anything from a nanosecond to a few minutes. It’s as if you’re floating, effortlessly running in an other-worldly manner. Everything seems easy and you are so intensely in the moment, totally immersed in your activity. You feel nothing of the pain, no pounding of the feet, no gasping of breath. Just. Pure. Joy.
Obviously that doesn’t last and the pain, self-doubt, nagging voice etc etc all kick in again. But that’s all part of it. You also know the feeling of elation at the end. That may be in achieving your furthest ever run, completing your first parkrun, running with mates.
So put your shoes on, smile at the world and head out of your front door. There’s joy to be had on those trails 🙂
Have you achieved the runners high? What pain do you put yourself through?
Yours in sport