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Can running change your life?

A while back, I posted this comment on Facebook:

“It’s possible for you learn to love running.  In doing so you can learn to love your life.”

The comments were intense.

People pushed back.

There was a lot of resistance.

Some of it was legitimate. People shared health issues that prevented them from running. The gift of listening to their bodies.

Some of it was inspiring.  People shared stories of how they used to hate running, gave it another try and it changed their lives. Created major breakthroughs.

All of it was passionate.

It got me thinking.  If I said:

“It’s possible for you to love bowling, In doing so you can learn to love your life.”  

Would the reaction have been the same?

Or what about:

“It’s possible for you to love painting, In doing so you can learn to love your life.”  

How about:

“It’s possible for you to love exercise, In doing so you can learn to love your life.”  

I’m curious:

How do you react to each of these?  

Do these statements bring up different emotions?  

Why?

My hunch is that they aren’t all the same.  The truth is you have different experiences & thoughts about running, bowling, painting and exercise.

These experiences and thoughts create a different emotional response when someone says it’s possible for you to love it.

If someone says to me, it’s possible for me to love bowling and in doing so learn to love my life, the response I get is laughter.  I think it’s funny.  I have no resistance to bowling and no real desire to use it to change my life.

For painting, I feel a longing to know more.  A curiosity to explore and a little bit of doubt about my abilities.

For exercise, I feel neutral.  I get it.  I’m not opposed to the statement and I’m not excited about it.

So why so much resistance and passion around running?

My two cents:

  • You have experience running.  For many, including me, not all of this experience is good.  In gym class I was slow, so I tried to run faster and it hurt.  I felt like I wasn’t good enough, so I stopped trying.
  • There’s a lack training in pace. You haven’t learned to enjoy going slow enough that it doesn’t hurt.  You’re not in gym class anymore and nobody cares how fast you are running.  Trying to run too fast for your body is uncomfortable.
  • It’s hard to start small.  You want to go out and run 1 mile today. For years I couldn’t run a mile, so I started with a minute, or 10 seconds, and I kept at it.  Now I can run a mile.
  • Walking gets a bad rap.  I used to think if I took a walk break while running, it meant I was a slacker, I was cheating, I wasn’t doing it right.  That’s not true.  Walk breaks are what allow you to run further, faster and with less pain. When you’re starting, the more walk breaks the better.

Think back to your first experience running?  Was it good?  Bad?  Are your stories about running creating resistance now?

Are you willing to give it a try?  Why/Why not?

In my own experience, I didn’t always love running.  I hated it.  And like many things I used to hate, once I learned why I hated it, gave myself the opportunity to experience it without resistance, I learned to love it.  The things that brought me the most resistance now bring me great joy.

Can’t wait to hear what you have to say on this topic.  Add your comments and perspective in the comments section below.

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4 Responses to “Can running change your life?”

  1. Sherry Trentini November 6, 2011 6:10 pm #

    I used to run in school, then a crazy knee thing changed that. Then another crazy knee thing happened as an adult playing basketball. Therefore I kept holding onto the thought, I can not run because of my crazy knee history. Plus I told my sisters (one does tri-athalons, iron man stuff, crazy all nighter relays through the mountains & the other who is a 1/2 marathoner) that someone had to cheer them on & keep the kids at the finish line and that would be me.

    Then this summer a friend did some marketing (read bullying) to get me and a few other gals to try running. So we tried, and we tried again, and we kept on trying but better yet I kept on running. 2 of us even competed in a 5K race as a landmark.

    The best thing running has taught me thus far is that, “holding on to past beliefs and ideas, holds you back in all ways.” My crazy knee thing hasn’t even bothered to object to my moving forward and letting it go!

    • Christy November 6, 2011 6:35 pm #

      Sherry,
      I love your story. Thanks for sharing. I’m going to steal this: “holding on to past beliefs and ideas, holds you back in all ways.”

      The tricky thing will always be differentiating between listening to your body and listening to your minds bs. Sometimes they are closely related. You have to clear away the clutter to really know for sure.

      • Sherry Trentini November 14, 2011 4:30 pm #

        Feel free to “borrow” that for sure!

  2. Kathleen December 14, 2011 7:01 am #

    Christy, this post caught my eye after our discussion on facebook. I was never a runner, until about… well, when I moved to this area years ago and discovered this wilderness canyon a block away (I live in LA) I was blown away… so would go back there and hike. Pretty much always walked, fast… and then up. At a certain point I began to run. And LOVED it! I couldn’t believe how it made me feel. I am a very hyper person, always struggled with being too thin, so it helped to soothe my nervous system as well as to clear my lymphatic system. I have done really well at times going out 4 times a week! But as I noted in our other discussion, this has taken a downturn due to creating my business and POURING my creative energy into the work. I LOVE IT… but obssesively so. Often times I have been very anxious about it… I KNEW I needed to run, but wasn’t getting out. I am back to a couple times a week. But I know I need more. So our discussion is serving to bring back to consciousness and make really get back out there. I KNOW how it serves, which is why its so crazy that I stopped over a period.

    Thank you!

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