An old dance friend of mine recently started running and posted about it on Facebook. Lots of people commented on her post, congratulating and encouraging her. But I was shocked at the number of commiserating comments from other runners about how bad running feels. In fact, there was not a single comment from anyone saying they enjoy running.
I know the statistics about the astronomical running injury rate, and I know how labored a lot of the runners out there look and sound, and of course I know what my clients say about their running when they come for their first lesson or fill out their application for my online running technique camp. And I even remember how bad I felt when I first started to run, before I learned how to make it feel comfortable and easy and stop fighting my body.
But it still was stunning to see how many runners really feel bad when they run. It blows my mind.
If that’s true of you too, take heart. You can learn to run completely comfortably, and feel joyful and spontaneous. I did. So have many hundreds of my clients. Sometimes that doesn’t seem like such a big deal to me, and it’s good to have reminders like this that it actually is.
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed on this topic by Lisa Hamilton of The Conscious Runner. She just posted the podcast this week; listen to learn more about how to make running feel great, and take a look at the great resources on her website as well. I’m currently reading her book and absolutely loving it.
You can listen to the podcast here.
11 thoughts on “The Conscious Runner”
If you send me a link to that Facebook post, I will try to correct some of the imbalance! Just today, I spoke with two people about how they can tell from their mood when they haven’t been able to get any exercise for a while, running or something else. Apart from enjoying it, it feels like relatively free therapy from the universe. And it doesn’t have to be anything like a two hour run to get that benefit.
Running was always pounding, jarring misery for me, so I hardly ever did it, until in my late 40s I needed some sort of exercise I would actually do and a friend showed me an article by Christopher McDougall that led me to his book “Born to Run” that made running sound fun…if you learned how to do it right. He also mentioned the idea of running barefoot…I tried reading books on form and all that, but nothing worked for my horrible form. It wasn’t until I took off my shoes that running became really fun! I’ve had my share of setbacks. During one of them, a woman on a barefoot running list suggested Feldenkrais and that has helped a lot too. In my adult life I’ve never exercised for the fun of it until I took up barefoot running. Now I have difficulty keeping from overdoing it. The latest help in the fun department has been learning to breathe through my nose and actually draw out longer breaths, instead of hyperventilating. It also helps that we have a network of trails within a mile of our house. I am so glad I found a way to have so much fun exercising that I’ll actually keep coming back to it and not want to let it out of my life! I’m also glad it is as simple as learning to run!
Thank you for your inspiring and helpful posts!
All the best,
Hi Scott! Isn’t this the best blog for runners?! “Inspiring and helpful” . . . exactly! I’m also a big fan of making running fun by doing it on trails and without shoes . . . and have also been experimenting with nose-breathing for a while. It’s another awesome technique that (like running barefoot) sounds awful, feels weird at first, but after getting used to it, takes running to a whole new level.
One other thing that has added to my enjoyment of trail running is embarking on a (life-long?) quest to learn about the local plants, animals, rocks, etc. Now I am always running amongst friends whose names I know 🙂
That’s a great story, Scott!
I’ve always found running difficult and generally not very enjoyable – unless I beat my time anyway! Sometimes there’s pain, but it’s generally a matter of speed. If I go slowly I’m bored, if I push to my limit, it’s pretty hard work, and therefore not enjoyable until I stop. I don’t see where the sweet spot is, apart from one or two occasions where I’ve been able to go surprisingly quickly with what seemed like not as much effort as I expected. I just put that down to having good fitness at that point combined with other things coincidentally working well. If I could ever run quickly and not feel like I’m risking cardiac arrest, I’d love to hear how!
Ian, keep reading this blog and keep an eye out for my online courses, because that is most definitely doable.
Most of my non-running friends are the ones to complain about running. The true runners “get” it.
That said, I used to feel much more as if my muscles had taken a beating before discovering the Feldenkrais running techniques. It was positively revelatory for me to come out of a run feeling taller — all for telling my pelvis and spine they could do what they want to do during the run. I’m looking forward to learning more.
I’m the opposite of some people in this group – a long-time runner, who has in more recent years discovered adult beginner ballet! I am working on applying some Feldenkrais techniques there as well.
Very glad to hear it, MP. Here’s a tip for your ballet class: don’t let anyone tell you you have to tighten your core there either — you won’t be able to move your legs very much! Instead lengthen yourself upward and look for how to shift your weight in each movement. Enjoy!
I really appreciate your blog and efforts to educate folks that running can be/should be/is FUN! Keep up the good work 🙂