There’s just one month of 2021 left. For many runners, thoughts will turn to stats accumulated and goals ticked off or yet to be achieved.
You may be working out whether you can hit an annual mileage target, bag those last few local peaks, or squeeze in another PB attempt. That’s great! Anything that motivates you to run is probably a good thing.
However, there’s another goal we think is more important than all the others, but can’t be tracked with a fancy watch. Just ask yourself… Are you enjoying your running? Does it make you happy?
If the answer is yes…
…then celebrate, regardless of whether you’ve achieved your other running goals!
If your running is fun, then everything else is a bonus!
If the answer is no…
…perhaps it’s worth thinking about why that is. Step one is identifying ways to enjoy the process, rather than just the end goal. That is, find ways to enjoy the act of running itself, rather than view it solely as a means to an end – whether that’s fast times, weight loss, or whatever goals you’ve set yourself.
For ideas on how to achieve this, asking the community in our Facebook Chat Group would be a good place to start. It might take a quick fix, or need some deeper work, but we’re confident every runner can reach a place where they enjoy it.
Here’s a couple of ideas to start off with:
- Try something new. Maybe give cross country, fell, or track racing a go, for example. We’ve got an article on our blog about how to get started, here at this link.
- Ease back on the continual progression and enjoy where you’re at for a moment. For example, new runners who have just completed Couch to 5K often look to the next target (ie: 10K). This means they’re constantly pushing themselves and spending a lot of time out of their comfort zone. Instead, if they spend a few weeks enjoying the 5K distance (or even shorter), they’ll allow themselves a chance to have a bit more fun with a comfortable distance.
The above examples are just suggestions, and it might take a bit of effort to find ways to enjoy your running more.
Maybe you just need to fake it to make it? There’s research to suggest that smiling can make you feel better. So take a leaf out of the fastest male marathoner, Eliud Kipchoge, and force a smile when the going gets tough. It might just trick your brain into thinking you’re enjoying it!
Whether you’re already enjoying your running, or need a little boost to find the joy in it, we reckon that if you finish the year running with a smile on your face, you can look ahead to 2022 with excitement!
Thanks to Lonely Goat Leon Rowe for the photo