Finding Joy in Running

Posted on Nov 24, 2021, by

Guest Blog by Brenda Johnson

Running can have a profound effect on a person’s life, not only physically, but psychologically and spiritually.  We’ve all heard of the phrase “runner’s high.” But, do runners actually enjoy running?  I have friends who will say, “if you see me running, you better run too as it means something is chasing me.”  This always makes me smile, however contrary to popular belief, it is possible to enjoy running.

Sometimes, even an avid runner goes through phases where they don’t enjoy running as much. Suddenly, the activity that they have grown to love becomes a chore. If you are a runner, and you find yourself in this spot take a step back and ask yourself, “Why did I start running?”

You might find that you‘ve been focusing a lot on the end result (weight loss, personal best time, intensity/pace, more miles, etc.) versus the journey. It’s the journey that matters. It’s not a time, distance or anything quantifiable. It’s a feeling.

So how do you find joy in running?

Shift your focus away from the end result: Run to calm your mind. Focus on how the sun feels on your face. Be ok to slow your pace. Run to reconnect with yourself. Run to clear your mind and feed your soul.

Change your routine: Find a new running route or location. Hit the trails. Adjust your mileage and tempo. Put together a new play list to listen to. Head out without your headphones and take in the sights and sounds around you.

Sign up for a new challenge: Getting involved in any of the Community First Fox Cities Marathon Race Events may be just the spark you need to re-ignite your passion for running.

Place your focus on cross-training: Make weight training, swimming and yoga part of your routine. Stretch and foam roll every day to ensure you stay flexible.

Find a partner or running group:  We’re so fortunate to have so many running groups in the Fox Cities. Running with friends will allow you to spend quality time socializing while getting your training run in. It’s also hard to stay at home when you know your running partner is waiting for you.

Give yourself permission to take a break: Sometimes a break from running, for a few days is all we need.

Embrace the journey:  Accept everything along the way, the ups and downs. The true joy lies not in reaching your destination, but how you get there. Begin to run because you want to, because you need to. It just might be the breath of fresh air you need and you just might get back to finding joy in your running.

I hope, through reading this, you understand the true reason why you are a runner and why you want to always be a runner. Keep running for the joy of running!

Brenda Johnson is the Executive Director of the Heart of the Valley YMCA. She holds a degree in Exercise Science and Fitness Management. She’s been a runner for over 35 years. She ran competitively in high school and at the collegiate level in cross country and track and field at UW Oshkosh.  Today she enjoys running for the joy of running with her husband and teenage children and loves watching her children run.

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