Can Running Change Your Life

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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?  


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.


  1. JB

    June 19, 2012

    I’m the big guy; I’m the center on the basketball team. I’m the lineman on the football team. I’m not supposed to like running, that’s for the guy, who in the fall, runs on the cross country team – but can’t dribble a basketball. I’m the big guy; I’m supposed to be slow and walk during drills, I’m too heavy to run! “Those poor bones!” “How can he run, he’s a big dude?” Yep, sounds about right.

    I used to laugh when I heard of people running for fun – i honestly thought that there was some screw loose in their brains. Now I get it, it’s meditation for me. It’s more than point A to point B. It’s tiny goals that are set, and then reached.

    I’m not running, I’m reaching.

  2. Ana

    July 25, 2012

    I am just beginning to train for a half-marathon that I accidentally signed up for. Running sucks, really. But I do get a sense of accomplishment once I finish a scheduled run, so that must mean something doesn’t it? I’m looking forward to the day where I can honestly say that I love running. Maybe…

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