I recently wrote a post about a web-based app called RouteShuffle and I mentioned that I hate running.
In the course of my past two Spartan Race seasons, I have completed ~28mi of race per year, with some training runs between 1-5 miles. You'd think with the races plus training, I would have gotten over my severe dislike of running, but unfortunately I have not learned to love running one bit. On one hand, you really don't have to do things you hate once you're an adult, and obviously I have gotten by with doing as little running as possible. On the other hand, you probably wouldn't get very far in life if you avoided doing everything unpleasant, so I decided to really get to the bottom of why I hate running so much.
First, I had to look at my past running experiences and consider how that got me where I am today. I have not had all that positive of a running history – I grew up clumsy as hell and have many memories of faceplants and skinned limbs, and also the part where I am not a fast runner and spent every PE event dragging my slow ass behind my entire class. I also have only been involved in sports that need you fit, but not fit enough that running is easy or enjoyable for you. Any time I had to run during practice it was long enough to make me complain, but not long (or frequent) enough to make me a better or more willing runner. Long story short, I have never had a positive running experience – no wonder I am not all that inspired to make running a priority!
Once I established that I have a lot of memories that make running undesirable – onto the physical aspect of running. It doesn't feel all that good, but I'll start with my hip. My left hip joint is for some reason very weak, and even though I probably should spend the money to find out why, bottom line is sometimes it's fine, and other times it grinds in the socket or even falls out of place a little bit. It's rare that my hip doesn't hurt by the end of a 3+ mile run, and anything over 5 miles is a guaranteed handicap day the next day.
Unfortunately, I also smoked at least a half a pack of cigarettes a day for a large portion of my late teens, only truly quitting in 2017. This is not something I am proud of, but it is a part of my health history, and has played a large part in making running really sucky. When I was an active smoker, running more than a quarter-mile at a time resulted in a lot of wheezing, coughing, and chest pain. Even though I quit and can feel my breathing improving even 8 months later, I still do not have the healthy lungs I would have had if I had never smoked. Because of my choices when I was young, I now have another obstacle in my journey to find something to love about running.
The other thing that I realized is that I have never really had to run that much. Like I said before, I have gotten by the last two Spartan Race seasons doing as little running as possible, and throughout high school I did the bare minimum to get by for PE or cheer. Because I have spent years doing the least amount of running for any sport I was involved in, I find it really hard to dig deep and motivate myself to run when I know I can get by with jogging.
Ok, so running gives me bad flashbacks and also hurts, but I knew that that wasn't it. I also had to accept that I find running for the sake of running to be extremely boring. And I think this is what really makes me not run – it's not the bad experiences in the past, it's not even the pain! It's simply because I don't like it and don’t generally volunteer to do things I don't like to do.. What kind of nut would?
I felt a lot better about where to go from here once I nailed down the three big things that keep me from running. While I theoretically could continue to run as minimally as possible, as it obviously was enough to get me through two Spartan Trifectas, one of my goals this year is to compete in the new Age Group heat in at least one of my races this year. I do not have a chance of reaching the podium unless I get faster and build more stamina, and for me this involves cutting my running mile time and increasing the distance I am able to run before I need rest.
While your reasons for wanting to build a better relationship with running may be different than mine, I realize that "I hate running" is an extremely common complaint. I will be sharing my experiences in my journey to get to a place where I like running – I hope that throughout the year, at least one of my posts will encourage you to give running a second chance.