Addicted to running? : Hello again..... I keep... - Couch to 5K

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Addicted to running?

Pegix profile image
31 Replies

Hello again..... I keep reading these posts from people just starting out and also people who have been running for years, saying how addictive running is. So how come I don't feel in any way addicted to it....!! I would far rather stay in bed than go out for a run in the mornings, and as I'm plodding my way round yet again, I'm only keeping going because I know I should, not because I love it, or even remotely like it. How can I change my attitude to this I wonder, and start to look forward to running, and feeling like I've missed out if I don't/can't go out. ?????

31 Replies
MissUnderstanding profile image

I love running. I would probably describe myself as a bit of an addict but that doesn’t at all mean that I’m always super enthusiastic to get out. Some runs are a real grind. I have to chivvy myself out of the door regularly so I can run the kinds of runs I want to. I think more people post about their good runs than the time when they went out and did week 4 run 2 and it was fine but just meh really!

Perhaps go back to why you decided to start running. Was it to run a specific race? To get fit? Because you liked the idea of it?

Then think about what aspects of running you do enjoy. Is it being outdoors? The satisfaction of having completed the run? How it makes you feel as you’re running along?

I think for some people it takes a while for the enjoyment to come as you get fitter, stronger and more experienced and then suddenly it clicks. For me, although I enjoyed the programme, it wasn’t really until I got to week 6/7 and I found I could run enjoying my music and the surroundings rather than focussing on breathing, striking the ground right, not going to fast etc. I’m sure I’ve talked about learning a musical instrument before. Nobody really wants to play scales, practise beginners’ pieces or finger positions but you need that training to play things you will love.

I would say to keep going and give yourself as many opportunities to enjoy it as possible-run in nice places, run with friends, go slowly so it feels comfortable, play music or podcasts you enjoy etc and don’t put pressure on yourself to be absolutely loving it.

Really good luck to you.

Pegix profile image
Pegix in reply to MissUnderstanding

Thanks for your encouragement. I guess I just have to keep at it and hope one day it does click. The only reason I run is to keep reasonably fit as I progress through my 60s and into my 70s. Running 5K would be a bonus, but would be nice to achieve. And maybe a bit of weight loss as well, as the only time I ever did lose weight successfully was when I was running regularly. But other than that, I have no desire to run. I like your analogy of learning to play an instrument. Many decades ago, I learned to play the piano and can remember the torture of scales! Maybe I'll try to keep that in mind next time I go out.....

Bruuuce profile image
BruuuceGraduate in reply to Pegix

I replied to your original comment to say I agree with you. What is interesting about what you say here is that I am 64 and I also only run because I feel I should try and keep fit as I get older. I suppose we need to find another reason 🙂

Pegix profile image
Pegix in reply to MissUnderstanding

And as for what I enjoy about running? The hot shower afterwards! See I'm a lost cause!

GoogleMe profile image
GoogleMeGraduate in reply to Pegix

I have noticed that a lot of people who say they don't like running seem to get great pleasure from saying so and put a lot of energy into their dislike. I wonder if the perception is that they are 'supposed to' love it, that they are 'supposed to' find it easy to get out and run and they are rebelling against doing what they are 'supposed to'.

An 'addiction' doesn't seem a very pleasant thing, certainly from the outside. It is certainly possible to let fitness obsession take over your life (I have had close family members whose lives, and therefore my own to a degree, revolved around running and other fitness activities and it did not make me feel it was something I wished to get involved with - C25K offered a different approach)

It's even more commonly true that running is a huge part of an individual's management of their mental health and therefore they suffer to some degree if they don't or can't run.

But it's obvious from the forum that even for those who find they love running, not every run is lovable, it's certainly not always easy to drag oneself into the minimum necessary attire and get out. It's also obvious that relying on 'shoulds' and running for some 'other' reason such as weight loss or even personal bests will only take a person so far (valuable though those can be for getting started)

Running is, in my view, a particularly good way for many of us to maintain and improve our fitness and wellbeing, but there are lots of ways to tweak it to suit the individual, and there are lots of other activities if you don't like running. Sometimes I think running (and walking too, and I find the same for yoga) can be very 'confronting', which is why some find it helpful to run with others or with an audio accompaniment. I know I need lots of variation in my run routes and locations and I particularly like running in places with lots of paths so I have route choice whilst out on the run.

You don't have to love it (any more than you have to love eating or cleaning your teeth) but not putting the energy into even thinking about whether you like it or not might pay dividends. I'd be very interested to know if you hate going for a walk too.

Bruuuce profile image
BruuuceGraduate in reply to GoogleMe

interesting - the original post is the first post I have seen from anybody who has said they don’t enjoy it. I also don’t enjoy it and I thought I was a freak. I’d love to love running. I really want it to click with me but it doesn’t.

GoogleMe profile image
GoogleMeGraduate in reply to Bruuuce

You might want to look back at your previous posts - I think you might find some answers (and also see that your enjoyment goes up and down but you definitely have said you've enjoyed it on occasion)

Bruuuce profile image
BruuuceGraduate in reply to GoogleMe

You are absolutely right. I’m still trying to find that sweet spot. I’m still hoping that one day it will come. I find there are bits of every run I like - mostly the down hill parts 🙂

Pegix profile image
Pegix in reply to GoogleMe

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I have found your comments really helpful. To stop thinking about it so much. I actively thought about your words this morning on my run, and would you believe it, found I did it easily, and I actually was able to boost at the last minute as Laura encouraged me. It was raining too, so to have felt such a sense of achievement in the pouring rain, I'm quite chuffed with myself. We will see how Friday's run goes! Thank you!!

GoogleMe profile image
GoogleMeGraduate in reply to Pegix

Oh that's lovely!

Solor profile image

just read your first post where you refer to running 3 times a week 10 years ago. Did you love it back then?

Pegix profile image
Pegix in reply to Solor

No, I hated it back then!!

Solor profile image

oh dear - and yet you’ve come back to it again which is saying something ( I’m just not sure what). Do you think maybe you’d like it better if you had company, maybe joined a local running group?

I can’t say I exactly love running myself as yet, but it gives me a sense of achievement that I’m accomplishing something. I give myself a little pat on the back each time and I feel better about myself. Plus there are the fitness benefits and the fact that it’s a form of exercise which fits fairly easily into my life.

Hope you’re able to find some joy in running - or some other form of exercise instead. Good luck Pegix.

Bootsie2020 profile image

Hi Pegix

Surely life’s too short to do something you dislike (or even more emotively ‘hate’ in your case).

A friend of mine tried C25k and hated it too. He then tried cycling and is addicted to it now.

Maybe find an exercise you like - swimming or aerobics e.g.

You’ll hopefully get the same results and will be happier and enthusiastic for it.

Hope it works out for you 😊

Pegix profile image
Pegix in reply to Bootsie2020

Ha ha. I run because swimming is so boring!!! Aerobics I've never tried, but it involves going to the gym which involves time and money!!! Running can be done direct from home, and is free. Far better! In that sense at least!

JeremiahObadiah profile image

I understand your thinking. I have a similar mindset on exercise related stuff.

But I do find that knowing I will feel a huge sense of achievement and satisfaction as I complete another week on the programme will spur me through.

It concerns me that once I don’t have a coach telling me -doing so well/one foot in front of another/you’ve got this etc I might not have the same motivation, but I’m leaving that til I finish as I believe there are follow on progs that hopefully will spur me on.

I would suggest for a while you continue with your reluctance/dislike. After all, 30mins exercise is good even if unenjoyable and you like the hot shower!! See if once you can do a slow , gentle 5k with ease you still think that it really isn’t fun. By then the spring/summer will be upon us and it might all feel a lot less of a chore to get out there.

Kid yourself along that you can always stop if you really hate it and maybe you will have got self fit/trim and liking doing it a tiny bit whilst caring for self/getting steps/avoiding weight gain/sleeping better and all the other things exercise can bring.

Bruuuce profile image

I feel exactly the same. I’ve been at it 18 months. I’ve tried running for less time, running shorter faster bursts, running slower for longer. I just don’t enjoy it ans I don’t get a high from it 🤷🏼‍♀️

JeremiahObadiah profile image
JeremiahObadiahGraduate in reply to Bruuuce

But maybe the reward is not dependent on the enjoyment-she says hopefully?!

I dreaded every PE class at school even table tennis!

I like the fact I’m not competing with anyone on C25 and also that I can go as and when I choose. I don’t like actually putting on the trainers and getting out of the door. There’s a huge reluctance in me just before I start. But it is over quite soon and it’s a box ticked in red pen on my chart.

It seems good that people share here that it’s not all euphoria and joy, plodding away is also beneficial to the body!

If you had a dog you would walk it every day regardless of whether you or the dog relished the action. I feel my body deserves the activity even if my head says No!

nowster profile image

I don't actually enjoy the effort involved.

I've never had a runner's high.

I do appreciate what it does to my body (physically and mentally) and don't want to lose those benefits.

I enjoy the getting out and doing something.

I enjoy the experiences that I wouldn't have had if I'd stayed at home and not got out and been round different places. The incidental social interactions. The sights and smells.

I like the "me time" it gives me. I can switch off mentally. I don't do meditation but I feel I get similar benefits.

I like the glow of achievement once it's over.

And a long soak in a shower or bath at the end is always worth it.

Roxdog profile image
RoxdogGraduate in reply to nowster

You are always running and yet you say you don't enjoy the effort! Interesting.... but I suppose I understand to some extent. Runner's high is an odd one. I've experienced this on many occasions but can't explain it as anything other than a brief period of euphoria. I look forward to it but it doesn't always happen. Despite that, I trundle on.

nowster profile image
nowsterGraduate in reply to Roxdog

Often I don't enjoy it at the time. It's work! 😆

Bruuuce profile image

sorry - me again. The other thing I would say is that running becomes a hobby for many people. I have lots of sedentary hobbies and running takes me away from something else I would rather be doing. I’ve tried going at different times to combat this eg after I have done my chores but before I start my hobbies. I’m still trying to find a sweet spot for me. I hope you find yours.

mrrun profile image

I started running because of my untidy lifestyle. The doc recommended cardio activity and when it comes to cardio it's either swimming or cycling - or running. Nobody will ever put me in a swimming pool with other people again. Ever. Cycling in London? Not for me mate. So, it was and it still is running. I tried all three, genuinely disliked the first two. The idea is to find out what you like rather than do something and force yourself to like it. Me and running? I genuinely love it, even when going gets tough. If I didn't, I simply wouldn't do it.

Roxdog profile image

I don't know if you've completed cto5k yet, but if you haven't, it's not at all surprising you're not addicted yet. Everyone is different. I got addicted pretty quickly after a lifetime of avoiding running at all costs. Perhaps think about why you are doing this? I wonder if you're doing it for fitness alone (many people start with that as the sole motive and that's OK!).

Once you've graduated, I suspect there will be a sense of elation. Then the adventure begins! You can try different routes. Running in different places and experiencing your body simply moving through nature can be wonderful.

It's not always easy. I've been running for a few years now and some runs are tough. But it reminds me I'm strong and alive!

Maybe some thoughts to hang in to. That said, if you actually hate it, then perhaps give yourself permission to find an alternative. I think you will ultimately come to enjoy it though! Good luck. X

Freecloud profile image

This is my first full year running and I've just completed 1700km (edit I had 2000 earlier but cant see where I got that from). I am most of the time conflicted as to whether I enjoy the run or not. I completed a 25k today and I found it a very hard effort. I do it for the sense of achievement, the me time, the music or things I listen to etc. For most of my life my head has been in a dark place due to my (our) upbringing, but running for me is the best therapy and makes me feel positive and I feel this makes me have a better outlook.

I don't fully understand the runners high but I'll take this anyday. But saying that, I am kind of buzzing after a good long run..

Cmoi profile image

Hi  Pegix , similarly to  nowster , I enjoy what running brings me, but not necessarily the actual process of running.

I've never ever been a morning person, so much prefer staying in bed to getting up and going for a run first thing. My solution? I almost always run at other times of day. However, when so many people are happily posting about their early morning runs and how it gets their day off to such a great start, it's hard not to feel like there's something wrong with me and I've somehow failed.

There are plenty of other things that most runners seem to love, but which simply aren't for me, and vice-versa. The details don't matter: my point is that you might be placing expectations on yourself about how you should feel about running, and trying to live up to those, rather than letting yourself experience how you actually feel. In my personal experience some runs turn out brilliantly, some are a bit of a disaster, and the vast majority fall somewhere in between those extremes.

I'm guessing that you're close to completing C25K. For me personally, that was probably the toughest time during the programme as it felt like a slog for very little gain. It was only after I'd completed and consolidated that I discovered that I was capable of much more physically than I'd ever thought possible.

If you really don't like running, don't! I hope, though, you'll be able to give it enough of a try to find out what running your way, for yourself, can bring. Good luck!

nowster profile image
nowsterGraduate in reply to Cmoi

Exactly my sentiments.

Some runs feel easy and things just slot into place, and your legs feel as if you could go on forever.

However in some you feel like you're dragging your sorry carcass round the same stupid route for no benefit whatsoever, you feel sluggish, your legs are protesting and you're mentally counting down the minutes or kilometres until it's over.

Most have elements of both.

Variety is the key to making it not boring. Doing the majority of your runs at a conversational pace is a way of making sure you don't burn out.

ForbiddenPlanet profile image

Like many people I did C25K 3 years ago for the health benefits rather than a love of exercise. 3 years on I run 6 days a week and it has become part of my identity.

I used to go for a long walk every morning listening to the Today programme. Now I cover a longer route in less time - though without R4. (In winter I run at lunchtime instead of the early morning).

I do often think of it like going out for a walk - just more efficient. Sometimes I would hate being out for a walk when I didn't feel like it, and the same is true of running. (And the same is true of playing the piano - though somehow I escaped doing scales; even when I took Grade 8 I just winged it in the exam!).

Many days I do enjoy running - it becomes a part of your life in my experience. Good times, bad times, I experience them running, just as I do in other parts of my life.

If I think back to C25K I did enjoy it because it was a game I was determined to "win". That's probably true of many aspects of my life; if there's a goal in mind, especially if it's one I've set for myself I'm only vaguely aware of any difficulty or discomfort.

On that theme, I know some people hate stats, but I love them; right from the start they helped me turn running into a game - via a Garmin watch - and that's still the case.

Beachcomber66 profile image

Reaching the end of C25k, aged 66, was a bit of an anti climax. I was very pleased in some ways; I had expected to fail, especially when niggles appeared, so completing the programme meant something, but I came to a point where I thought “I have to make this more interesting”. Two things made the difference; first, getting a running watch so that I could see progress run on run, and secondly deciding to extend distance rather than increase pace, at least during the first year post graduation. It worked! 10k came and went, then 10 miles and then HM. The long slow runs built up my strength and fitness, so that I had a base from which to increase pace through running intervals and trying out park runs. Running with others helps as does sharing experience with other people on the HU forums.

I ended up a stone lighter, fitter and in a better place the heart of this was making measurable progress…distance and pace …and the pleasure of sharing experiences and knowledge with others. I hope that you find a pathway which suits you 🙂.

Jell6 profile image

I have said ( many times!) that whilst I don't always enjoy the run I invariably enjoy the "after run". Certainly I feel better if I convinced myself to go after wrangling with the gremlins. Today I was tired, 3 hours sleep after a 13 hour shift yesterday, little food but managed to drink enough. It took me about an hour to convince myself to do it. It wasn't perfect, it wasn't fast, but I was back in the house before 08.30 and set up for the day.

You don't have to love it for it to be a positive thing.

Pegix profile image
Pegix in reply to Jell6

So so true! The feeling of having not given in to those gremlins after a run is brilliant!

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