No, I don’t ALWAYS love to run…

“I don’t how you can run so much. I can’t run fast or far and it always hurts. You must really love it.”

I hear this all the time. From fellow runners and non-runners.

Runners love every minute of running and it’s not hard for them…yeah, right!

I’ve been a runner since I was about 12 or 13 years old. You don’t stick with something for that long if you don’t love it on some level. I do love running over other forms of exercise. But, some days, running is not my friend! Just because I’m a regular runner and it’s a part of my life doesn’t mean I LOVE running ALL.THE.TIME.

I have days and sometimes even weeks when running just SUCKS!

In the winter, it’s a monumental challenge┬áto convince myself to pile on the layers and go out when my husband is sitting in front of the fireplace with a steaming cup of coffee. When I’m not super pumped to go running and I do it anyway, my legs don’t always cooperate. My quads feel like lead and my calves feel like someone has held a lit match to them.

I usually have no problem running in all kinds of weather but wind gives me a headache so runs in March can make me feel like I’m running with a vice clamp around my head instead of my hat!

Where I live, it’s very humid in the summer so if I don’t get out early in the morning, my run can be less than enjoyable to say the least. I come home dripping as if I ran through a sprinkler and I feel like I’m trying to breath through a straw.

When I’m training for a specific event and not hitting my goal workouts or times, I get very frustrated and angry at running. And I definitely don’t love it then. I know on a logical level this makes no sense at all but its how I deal with it!

Individual runs can suck for a variety of reasons but there are times when I struggle (for weeks or months, even) to get and stay motivated to run. The thrill of a good run just eludes me. Full disclosure: I can’t always tell you why this happens because, believe me, if I knew I might be able to do something about it! I keep an exercise log so sometimes I can pinpoint a specific time (the dead of winter) or event (a head cold I was slow to recover from) that I have a hard time pushing back from but other times it’s just a lack of interest.

When that happens, I take time off. I don’t stress about it. I don’t worry about it. I don’t force myself to run. That could lead to injuries and I don’t like the idea of dreading something that I don’t even HAVE to do in the first place. I do other forms of exercise and wait for my natural motivation to return. And for me, it always does eventually.

Running has been my salvation during very tough times in my life. It has kept me sane and strong. It helps me relax when I’m tense or stressed out and gets me energized when I’m feeling sluggish. When I start snapping at my family members…I know its time for a run. Of course, I’m tired afterward but I’m refreshed and ready to handle general life chaos.

Running is my joy in good times. I love the simple act of just being able to run whenever and wherever I want. I have a treadmill that I’m happy to use when necessary but running is so simple that all I really need is a good pair of shoes. I can run through parks and paths and parts of neighborhoods that you can’t drive through. An early morning spring run is my favorite, when I still need a jacket but it’s not so cold that I’m really uncomfortable. It’s quiet and I can run in places where all I hear are my footsteps.

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One of the most fun races! I do this every year with a group of friends.

Some of my favorite times have been running races with friends or running around the neighborhood with my kids. The first time my son ran a 5k with me is one of my all-time best memories. My husband is not a runner so when my kids showed interest in it, I was beyond excited to share it with them.

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Me, my son and my sister.

I know that running is not for everyone. Physical limitations might prevent it or horrible memories of laps in PE class or suicide runs at sports practice could be the reason. I get it! But running isn’t an either/or kind of thing. You don’t have to only love it or only hate it. There’s room for both in your exercise plan!