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August 16, 2013

On The Run: If it was easy, it wouldn't feel so good

Nothing good comes easy. Runners tell themselves this all the time, especially as they’re suffering through a particularly hot and sweaty run or suiting up to brave single-digit temperatures in January. Or when they’re up at 6 a.m. doing intervals on the local track or nursing the latest running-related injury. Or hitting the wall during a three-hour long run with another hour to go.

Let’s face it: Sometimes running just isn’t that much fun. But we put up with the negatives because the good stuff always outweighs the bad.

Everybody’s got their own reasons for running. It could be to improve health, lose weight, feel better about yourself, get in shape for a sport, or simply to have some time away from the responsibilities of everyday life. Whatever the reason, it becomes apparent quickly that if you’re really serious about being a runner, it’s going to take some work and some pain.

Just look at photos from a road race, especially a longer one like a half marathon or marathon. Sure, there are folks who see the photographer and put aside their struggles to smile or give a thumbs up. But most runners are in their own world, focused on getting through the race and dealing with whatever they must to finish. In most race photos of me, I look like I’m a bounty hunter chasing down an escaped criminal: Deadly serious and determined. It’s not intentional. I just get into race mode and nothing else matters except cranking through the race. It just happens.

And of course, there are easier ways to get in shape. But cardio machines just don’t do it for a lot of runners. There’s just something more “real” about running, getting out and pounding the pavement. There are so many obstacles that can get in the way to reaching a running goal, but for most runners, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about getting the job done, no matter how painful (within reason) or tedious the training may be.

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