Runners who don’t like running

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This topic contains 27 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Ryan 8 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #12029

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Over the years, I've noticed an interesting thing. In the past few months, I've seen this happening enough that I feel like I have to ask the question: if running really is nothing but misery, punishment, pain and agony, why are you doing it?

    I understand the joke “our sport is your sport's punishment”. It's having a little fun with participants of other sports. I never especially cared for that joke because it makes one sound like a masochist. You enjoy doing what others see as punishment. Still, I kind of get the joke.

    What I'm interested in are these people whose first thought of the sport that they choose to participate in and that one would presume they enjoy doing is “misery”, “pain”, “anguish” or some similar painful or agonizing term. Is this really how they feel about the sport? If so, why do they participate in it?

    No doubt, part of being a competitive runner or, I would imagine, a non-competitive every day runner is dealing with pain, anguish, miserable runs, and other difficult experiences. However, most runners I know personally first think of terms like “thrill”, “excitement”, “serenity”, “relaxation” or other pleasurable terms when they are asked about running.

    For quite some time, I've wondered: if you really don't like running, why are you doing it? If you find competitive running specifically to be nothing but misery, punishment, pain and agony, why do you keep competing? It would be one thing to keep running for health reasons, though even then I'd say find something that you find more enjoyable or at least less agonizing. Do these people actually like to talk a big game about how difficult running is but actually enjoy the experience of running? Do they actually have some masochistic desire to do things that they find so horrible?

    Personally, I love running. Yes, there are the runs that are all of those bad things and more. However, those are far outweighed by the runs that are indescribably good. I can't even come up with words for what I normally feel about running. It's a chance to connect with nature or connect with fellow runners and exercisers of all stripes. It's exhilarating yet serene, a thrill a minute yet a great way to relax, challenging yet peaceful. It's so many things that I can't even describe. All of those great things about running that defy description are what I think of first when I think of running and why I keep running. Why someone who first thinks of punishment, pain and anguish when they think of running would keep running, I have no idea. I'm just glad I'm not one of them.

  • #29994

    cesar
    Participant

    Why standard people tell us runners are crazy.They say ” there is no need to run that much or long distances”, they instead prefer staying at home or if they want to lose weight the take pills. People that dont know anything about running , their first thought is of punishment, pain,unnecesary. Once you start running with goals and having some concept about running as a sport, one can change the mindset  and change from hate to love.
    When i played baseball our punishment was to run x laps to the field ,i hated it because of the labored breath and cramps. But then when i started practicing as a sport and was getting more endurance, it became pretty excited and my mindset changed , now i can´t imagine life without running(8 years since i started, i am only 21). If I don´t run, i feel like a normal person , get bad mood, and a lot of other negatives things. So i am hooked.

  • #29995

    Andrew A.
    Member

    You mean like people who need to trick themselves into doing it with contrivances such as frequent jabberfests over the minutiae of their runs? 😉   The main thing I often see is that many seem to be drawn in by an otherwise unfulfilled need to be accepted and affirmed and, quite frankly, running is a highly inclusive activity.  There is seemingly a whole joiner mentality at work on a certain level, beyond mere fellowship with like minds.  If running truly is “nothing but misery, punishment, pain and agony” on a regular basis then one's true talents likely lie elsewhere and not pursuing that path is basic avoidance.  Contrast this with Japan, where as a rule joggers do not enter races.

  • #29996

    ed
    Participant

    I got to sleep late last night and new I was going to have a hard time getting up this morning to run.  I was even feeling sore and at just under 5 hours of sleep I didn't want to get up – BUT – I then thought about how I would feel about a mile into the run and how I would feel for the remiander of the day and instantly got up and ran.  I enjoy how I feel when I run -while I run and for the remainder of the day.

    Like Ryan said we all have good days and we also have those training runs that are tough.  I think that when someone says that a run sucked – they were pushing too hard for what they are ready for.

  • #29997

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Cesar, I understand that a lot of non-runners see running as punishment. To them, I say it may be for you but it isn't for me. I hope you find something you like doing as much as I like running. What I don't get are the runners who seem to feel this same way. If you really dislike running that much or find running to be that punishing, why are you doing it? Why don't you find something else that is more enjoyable?

    Andrew, I don't want to stereotype because I see it coming from across a wide spectrum of types. However, I think you know where some of the motivation from this post came from. Very interesting thoughts and I often say what you hit on at the end. If you really dislike it that much and if it is really that difficult for you, why don't you try to find something that you will find more enjoyment and likely more success in?

  • #29998

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Certainly, I guess I bristle at having it shoved down my throat.  If one needs to trick oneself into being motivated enough to do it then one is likely missing out on something else in which one would find genuine enjoyment and thus consistent motivation to engage in it. 

  • #29999

    Anne
    Member

    Like Ryan said we all have good days and we also have those training runs that are tough.  I think that when someone says that a run sucked – they were pushing too hard for what they are ready for.

    When I read that I thought back to some of my worst running experiences. I think there are a variety of reasons we have an off day, not neccessarily because we pushed harder then we should have. The ones that come to mind are weather related not because I wasn't ready for the mileage. Nobody is forcing me to do a long run in sub zero weather on snow packed roads while being pelted with snow blobs, I choose to do that & yes, it kind of sucks.  At the same time those runs are part of the package, I know the next outing will be much better & I will appreciate it all the more. 

      I've had plenty of people tell me they've tried to run, didn't like it & quit. I can't think of anyone I've run with who dislikes it, if that were their attitude I'd be the wrong person keeping them company.  Running is such a positive element in my life & I'm thankful to have so many like minded runnners up here to train with.
    I have run with people who are doing it for the wrong reason though, to please a parent, to run a marathon because everyone else is. That's almost as bad.

  • #30000

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    To me, it's as simple as this. At three different places recently, I saw a fairly simple question come up. Phrased in different ways, it boiled down to what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of running. The most common answers were along the lines of “pain”, “agony”, “misery”, etc.

    As I was reading this type of response, I was stunned. Seriously? The first thing that comes to mind when you think of running is pain, agony, misery? And you choose to run? You realize this is a voluntary thing, right?

    One could ask me every day of the year what the first thing that comes to mind is when I think of running and they might get 200+ different answers. Connecting with nature, testing your limits, exhilaration, excitement, serenity, relaxation, challenge, competition, camaraderie, I could go on forever. Maybe an occasional fatigue, frustration, or exhaustion may even sneak in. Pain? Misery? Anguish? Punishment? You'll never see those thoughts from me as the first thing that comes to mind when I think of running. If they ever would have been, I would have quit running and found something more enjoyable.

  • #30001

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Anne, I agree. There are many reasons for a bad run. A common reason is trying to do too much but that's far from the only reason.

    As for people to run with, I'm lucky enough to also run with people who love running. I'm seeing this more online than anywhere. I agree with you on the last point. There are a lot of counterproductive reasons to run.

  • #30002

    Anne
    Member

      Just to see what results I get I'm going to ask this question at the next group run on Weds.  With the exception of the woman who just had a baby 4 weeks ago I'm putting my money on overwhelming positive responses.

  • #30003

    rehammes
    Member

    I would be very skeptical of any runner that says they do not enjoy running.  Like so many of you have said, why would you do it?  There are a thousand other ways to stay in shape that you might find less distasteful and countless other pursuits you could use to occupy your free time.  I believe that people enjoy taking part in an activity that others might perceive as painful or difficult or which may require a fortitude that they do not possess.  So, when asked if they enjoy running, they can convey that they were able to withstand the pain endured during such a difficult task.  To most of the readers of this board, painful running is a terrible sign that they are not right physically and is to be avoided at all costs.  Runners who don't like running might be a misnomer for foolish exercisers.  Find a new hobby.

  • #30004

    ed
    Participant

      Runners who don't like running might be a misnomer for foolish exercisers.  Find a new hobby.

    Fully agree – find a new hobby/ exercise plan!

    Karma point for you.

  • #30005

    Andrew A.
    Member

      Runners who don't like running might be a misnomer for foolish exercisers.  Find a new hobby.

    Fully agree – find a new hobby/ exercise plan!

    Karma point for you.

    +1

  • #30006

    r-at-work
    Member

    This is the best…

    If I don´t run, i feel like a normal person

    I don't understand why people run if they hate it, find another sport, there are plenty to choose from… even ways to get in shape, especially if you are seriously overweight swimming would be better…

    I even have a difficult time understanding people who 'need' their music get 'get through' a run. Or talk about 'blocking out' the feedback from their body with music…uh, maybe I'm wrong, but it my body is screaming at me to slow down then I usually do. I could see wanting that for a treadmill run when you are bored to death, but out on the road or trail I need to pay attention to terrain or traffic so I'm never bored.

    I am a runner, no need to be normal!
    -Rita

  • #30007

    ed
    Participant

    I have never needed music but I did use music when I first started running – I played with my pace based on whatever was playing.  I do get bored on the T-Mill but as I do I add some speed (very little) to make it more of a challenge.  T-Mill runs seem to turn into progression runs – each mile getting slightly quicker.

  • #30008

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Rob, I hope you're right. I hope these people don't truly think of pain and misery first when they think of running. If they do, they really need to find something different to do because running is definitely not their thing.

    Rita, another good point. If you need your music to run, maybe running isn't your thing. And blocking out? You're right on, those are signals your body is giving you for a reason. You block those signals at your own peril.

  • #30009

    DoppleBock
    Member

    Funny – A guy I work with hates running – He runs 3-4 times a week for 25-30 minutes.  He starts out slower and then ends up all out.  I tried to explain “Training” etc to him.  He does not care – He hates running, has never races.  He basically dislikes any type of aerobic workouts, but feels running is the most efficient way to get a good, “Healthy”, aerobic workout.

    I can not disagree with his logic

  • #30010

    ed
    Participant

    I would say that the best aerobic workout comes from running IF it is done properly. 

  • #30011

    DoppleBock
    Member

    He has a really nice stride … but he has been doing this workout that he hates for 30+ years … He is in his mid-50s and looks really fit.

  • #30012

    r-at-work
    Member

    I would say that the best aerobic workout comes from running IF it is done properly. 

    cross country skiing is a close second if not equal… IMHO  😉

  • #30013

    DoppleBock
    Member

    I have never needed music but I did use music when I first started running – I played with my pace based on whatever was playing.  I do get bored on the T-Mill but as I do I add some speed (very little) to make it more of a challenge.  T-Mill runs seem to turn into progression runs – each mile getting slightly quicker.

    The comment about TM runs becoming progressive runs is interesting to me.  You are in complete control on the TM, it would only become a progressive run if you choose to make it one.  I understand the boredom factor probably more than anuone else here.  When I am training for the 24 hour race, I will set the TM at an easy and agonizingly boring pace 7.4-7.5 MPH.  I then run this pace, with T-Shirt change, bathroom and get more nutrition breaks until it is really hard to run this pace.  I ran 42, 46, 40, 41, 44, 53 and 56 mile runs on the TM this year already.

    It does take a lot of focus or maybe discipline to run the pace you are suppose to on TM, I do find it easier outside.

  • #30014

    ed
    Participant

    I do choose to turn a TM run into a progression run – it makes it much more enjoyable – constantly bumping up the effort andf seeing that I can hang with the pace is enjoyable.

  • #30015

    Andrew A.
    Member

    I would say that the best aerobic workout comes from running IF it is done properly. 

    cross country skiing is a close second if not equal… IMHO  😉

      Cycling, swimming, and rowing are up there, too.

  • #30016

    ed
    Participant

    Yes –  those activities/ sports that Andrew and Rita mention are great aerobic activities but I wonder which (given equal exersion) yields the greatest aerobic results.

    As far as financial expenditure those other activities / sports have a higher cost in order to participate (other than swimming in open water.)

  • #30017

    Andrew A.
    Member

    Yes –  those activities/ sports that Andrew and Rita mention are great aerobic activities but I wonder which (given equal exersion) yields the greatest aerobic results.

    The one you enjoy doing the most, getting back to the main topic.

    As far as financial expenditure those other activities / sports have a higher cost in order to participate (other than swimming in open water.)

    That is arguable.  Rowing machines and bicycles wear out a lot more slowly than running shoes do.  One could likely get 10+ years of use out of a well cared for bicycle (a couple pair of new tires each year and a new chain or two might be the only expense beyond initial purchase price in that time) yet how many running shoes is one apt to go through in that time?  20-40?  Even if a bargain shopper, at $50/pair that is $1000-$2000.  I could get a really nice bike for $1500 and spend $500 on maintenance and parts over that timeframe and clothing for each is essentially a wash.  I imagine I could find a rowing machine for $500 (a friend of mine found a NordicTrack via CraigsList for free) that would last a good decade or so.

  • #30018

    sueruns
    Member

    I don't know, I think you can dislike running and still do it out of habit.  I got tired 2 years ago, there was nothing new to motivate me, I've done it for so long.  Decided to swim, it was so exciting because every day was improvement, it didn't matter that I was being lapped over and over by others in the pool.

    I miss my long run workouts though, I would not mind giving up speed and tempo runs at all.

  • #30019

    ed
    Participant

    Sue's comment made think of the idea that although we want to build a routine of running every day – we do not want running to be routine.

  • #30020

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Ed, you're right. You want to build running into your daily routine but you don't want it to become monotonous. I've experience similar mental burnout issues as Sue seems to be describing. While I never turned into someone who didn't like running, I didn't feel that spark or excitement about it.

    For me, it was about trying different challenges. A few years ago, I tried an ultra. Unfortunately, I was ill prepared but it was something that excited me and gave me a new challenge. A couple years before that, I tried a trail race. Not cross country but rugged trail running. That was a fun new challenge. This year, I'm doing a small local marathon. I've done marathons before but, given the size and likely competition at this one combined with a different approach to training due to being in a different place in my life, this is going to be a whole new experience and I'm very excited about it. Doing things like this, as well as obviously not doing the same exact run every day for an extended time, are great ways to allow you to keep the daily routine of getting out the door to run without making it monotonous.

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