Do you like running after you’ve finished? Do you hate it while you’re doing it? Maybe you’re doing something wrong.
I remember in high school, I had this experience on a river rafting trip with some friends. We had finished lunch and it was the first few hours of sunshine during a trip that was mostly rain, which is unusual in Utah. Instead of getting back on the rafts, we all decided we were going to spend an hour at a game, the goal being to get as many people soaking wet as possible. Why this made sense when we were supposed to be enjoying being dry for once, I don’t know. But I do remember chasing after people with a bucket of water and having a lot of fun. I remember saying to someone afterward that if only I could run like that when I was in one of my PE classes, maybe I would actually like running. So why didn’t I? Why was running in PE always about getting a good time, about being tested and proving myself?
I think the more pressure that we put on ourselves or allow others to put on us, the less fun we have at running or doing any sport, the worse we get at it. Sure, you have to put in time and be consistent to be good at a sport. Yes, there are going to be days when you don’t feel like it and doing it anyway is probably good for you. But there are also days when pushing yourself to do something is counterproductive. And there is something wonderful about figuring out how to have fun even when it hurts.
If you have fun making fun of yourself, do that. If you have fun making a game out of it, do that. If you have fun racing others, find some people and race them. If you have fun watching TV while exercising, do that. Spend some time figuring out how to have fun more often doing this sport thing. Spend some money doing it, too. Be goofy. Laugh. Be ridiculous. Try some races that will bring out the fun. Try something you’ve never done before once a month. Go back to being a kid inside, and the more often you do it, the easier it will be to channel that kid and be that kid when it does matter.