Health & Fitness.

Do I Like Running…While I’m Actually Running?

My friend posted on Facebook yesterday that she didn’t really like running yet, not while she was running anyway. She liked the feeling after, but not during. Someone in my running group said the same thing a few weeks ago. I think I’ve said the same thing before, even.

But lately? I’m not sure it’s true anymore.

When I’m doing an “easy” run with my group, on our Long Run days (last week = 13 miles) I think I actually enjoy it. I’ve found a good pace and I’m in good enough shape that it just feels nice. Especially if the weather is cooperating and if I have some running buddies to chat with. I mean, I know I no longer HATE it. That’s for sure. Those runs on those days at that pace? I definitely don’t hate it.

And I think I like it.

It takes a while in the run to get to that point. Sometimes 3 miles, before my legs are loose and my stride is comfortable. Some days it only takes 1 mile. But every long run has that point where I stop thinking about the run and start thinking about the conversation with my running buddy, or the music if I’m wearing headphones, or the scenery. The run is no longer in the forefront…it’s just something going on in the background while I try to enjoy other things. At that point? I think I can easily tell you, “I like running.”

But on my speed work days…that’s another story. We did 800m repeats on Tuesday night. That means we ran 800m at full speed (Not really running a “sprint,” but as fast as you can run at a constant pace for that distance, several times.) six times, with 3-minute rest breaks between each one. I was running with a girl who’s 5K time is about 40 seconds faster than mine. She was pushing me to do my 800s in 1:35. That’s about 20 seconds faster than when I was doing them on my own.

And I thought I was going to cry or puke during each of them.

Is that hate? Probably. I think I was hating it while I was doing it. But knowing I ran 800 meters in 1 minute and 35 seconds? OH MY GOD…I loved that.

While I was dry-heaving in the grass, of course.

It’s such a weird process…this learning to be a runner thing. It’s why I really want to figure out a way to keep it up over the winter. I feel like I’ve come so far. I used to hate even the slowest, shortest of runs. Now I look forward to them…the longer the better! I would have never willingly done speed work before, now I’m doing it – wanting to die while I’m actually running – but rejoicing in my accomplishments later. While crying into my water bottle.

So…I think I do like running. As a general statement. I think that there’s more like than dislike on any given day. Which is why I keep going back. Now, there are also moments of hatred, even on the easy long runs. The last 2 miles of my 12-mile run last month nearly killed me. My 4-mile tempo run last week had me wanting to hurl and cry simultaneously. (They go hand-in-hand in my mind.) But overall? Yes. I think I’m there. I think I like running. Even while I’m doing it, on most days.

And that may the most INSANE THING I’ve ever said. EVER. And I’ve proclaimed for the show Pretty Little Liars.

4 thoughts on “Do I Like Running…While I’m Actually Running?”

  1. I’m definitely not there yet, but I can sort of see it off in the distance. It’s weird, but cool. I can’t wait to get to the point where just the act of running isn’t such a struggle and I can enjoy it for its own sake.

  2. I want to be a runner, but so far, I am just in the planning stages. I am a championship elliptical user and 5K treadmill walker, and I think I am going to try out the Runner’s World beginning running program (as opposed to the C25K program). I used to run in college, and I remember loving that I COULD run. Until I read this post, I forgot that I didn’t always love every run, and I think I had some amnesia regarding that, so every time I have tried to start running again and not loved it, I have quit. But you have reminded me that sometimes the actual run can suck, but the running can be amazing. I just have to transcend the discomfort that comes with doing something new (which I had to do when I first starting using the elliptical too) and just do it. Thanks for being so open about your feelings regarding this!

  3. Wow, you did your 800s in just a little more time than I do my 400s! Damn, girl. Remind me to get back to track work, cause: damn.

    I do love running, HOWEVER, I hear you on the “takes me 3 miles to get warmed up” — when I was doing lots of distance, it could even be 6 or 7 miles until I was in the groove. But the thing is, once I’m in that groove, I feel more like myself than I do at any other point in the day.

  4. I remember when everything clicked for me and I started feeling the same way! It’s so exciting when you don’t have to go through the uncomfortable or bargaining part of running anymore in order to get to the good stuff. You are SO right when you say that it’s like running is something going on in the background while you enjoy other things. This post made me happy.
    As for winter, you should get yourself a pair of Yak Trax and some cold weather running gear. I ran outside all winter last year and I live in Wisconsin! There were only a handful of times when I ran on on indoor track (at an ice rink) but otherwise winter running is amazing.

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