Last week I held a book event for my running book Run for Your Life at a local coffee shop, where I gave a talk about developing a love of running. I’ve been running for more than twenty (!) years now, and it’s been a huge part of my emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. I’m passionate about getting more people involved in the sport because I believe running can literally transform people.
There was a young woman attending the talk who had a ton of questions for me about running — where I ran, how I stayed motivated, how many miles I ran each week…the usual stuff. But then she said this: “I just don’t like running that much. How can I find ways to like it more so I can keep doing it?”
I asked her if she liked the way she felt after she had completed a run, to which she answered, “Yes, I love that feeling.”
“Me too,” I said. “That’s what I focus on. I don’t love every run, but I do love having run. So I find ways to get myself out there… schedule running dates, come up with post-run rewards, save up my favorite podcasts to listen to.”
After my presentation was over, she came up to me and we brainstormed different strategies she could try to fail-proof her running plans. I’m not sure how it’s going, but I hope she’s finding new ways to stay inspired to lace up and get out the door.
But here’s a question someone posed to me after the event:
Why would this woman who flat out told me she doesn’t like running be so interested in figuring out how to actually keep doing it?
The same reason people who find writing a subtle form of torture feel drawn to write their book. Or an artist procrastinates to avoid creating but has no choice but to eventually return to their canvas.
Our essential selves — that part of us that is connected with our passion and purpose — knows what we’re supposed to do. It knows what will make us feel happy, complete, at peace.
Yet that deep sense of knowing that we’re supposed to be doing something doesn’t necessarily negate resistance we might have around doing it.
Many of us experience a constant push and pull: pushing away from something because it feels risky or uncomfortable or hard, yet being pulled back towards it because it’s an important part of our personal journey.
When we feel the pull, get prepared for the push. Then remind yourself of the end game — how you feel after you’ve finished a run, or a book, or a piece of art, or a project — and shape your path to help you get there.
I guarantee it will be worth it.