The Joy of Running - it will come! (don't believe me? Read on!)

Joy I hear you say; how can this be enjoyable? You managed Wk1's first run last night and it nearly killed you; your face was redder than a beetroot, your shins hurt, your legs were like lead and you thought your lungs were about to explode. You haven't been able to walk properly all day and goodness knows when you'll be able to manage the second run because your legs feel so painful. This was me last year and I thought then, surely people don't actually do this for the joy of it!!

Yes, well, they do. I do! Other runners on this forum do!! If you are the proverbial couch potato, or even if you're not quite welded to the sofa but don't do a whole lot of exercise bar a nice wee walk occasionally, then it won't be in your first few weeks, it probably won't even be

in your first few months, but one day, as long as you're not expecting miracles of speed and an ultra runner's endurance, you will start to find joy in your running.

There is no getting away from it, running is HARD. There is practically no other sport that burns so much energy, minute for minute. You think this will never bring you joy, but it will happen one day....

That longed for, but seemingly impossible day, when you are not trying to beat your last time by running too hard, when you're not worrying about how you look, when you're comfortable in your skin and have no expectations, suddenly you will hit "that pace", the one that is still a good time for you, but seems easier than you've ever felt it, and your form is good, you're not labouring hard to breathe and the road rises up to meet your eager foot. Your legs feel stronger than ever, the cool wind is in your face and you come flying along, wondering why you ever thought this was hard. Other people that you overtake or pass, non-runners, look at you, but you don't feel self conscious because now you are a "proper runner". When you pass other runners you get a wry smile from them, or a wave. You are all in "the club of athletes" no matter how slow or fast. You make the effort to get out there, no matter what.

I still count myself a beginner. I only started running last September, but it's only in the last few weeks as I've gone regularly over the hour mark in my running, that I've begun to really enjoy myself. Yes, I've had the odd really good run in that time, but those good runs are becoming much more the norm than bad ones. Even on days when I think I don't want to go out, am tired, am achy, am thinking it's raining/freezing/icy/blowing a gale, I really don't fancy this, and yes, for the first five minutes I'm thinking what a stupid activity, that I must be loopy to want to do this: but give me just five minutes more and I'm there, I'm "into" it, I've reached my running pace and breathing rhythm, have settled into myself and am running for the sheer bloody joy of it.

If you took this away from me now, there would be other aerobic sports I could do; I love to swim, cycle, power walk, and the rowing machine in the gym will always get a good sweat going, but for sheer "you can't catch me" joy, please let me get out of my front door with my running shoes on!



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19 Replies

  • What Carole said. In the zone, can't beat it.

  • yep, very addictive

  • If that doesn't get at least one more person off the couch I don't know what will.

  • Ah Carole - I am totally with you, only on week 5 but already feeling the joy of just getting outside and being able to run! - makes you feel like you can do anything. This program and forum are a truely great and supportive way to start too.

  • I aspire to write a similar post one day...

    Just not yet lol.

  • Thanks for this post Carole, it really has given me the inspiration to keep going! I'm only on W3R2 but I love getting out there to run already! It frustrates me on the days I dont go out some sometimes I cheat a little and run even on the days I'm not suppose to.... hehe.... I'm really looking forward to achieving what you have, I will get there eventually. Thanks again Carole... Happy running!!

  • Great post thanks Carole :)

    I'm on Week 3 but already feeling the buzz, I miss running on the rest days and content myself with swimming, but it's not the same!

  • Thanks for the post Carole, what an inspiration :) I'm not quite at the stage of enjoying it yet but getting there slowly. It's great to hear how far you've progressed.

  • I finished W2R2 last night and I am starting to see why people do it. I feel self-conscious every time I stop, even during my warm-up walk if I am honest, but I have kept going.

    There is something about it. Something kicks in after the first couple of minutes of running. I am a writer by profession, so having that time to just let my mind run free is great and I have found myself dreaming up and refining ideas as I run.

    Oh, it is tough at times and I spent the whole run yesterday focused on running, but it's great when I can do the running on autopilot and just enjoy a half hour watching the sun set as I day-dream. I am looking forward to the day when I can just put on my own music again (22 runs left until that day) and run until I am ready to go home.

    Even when I feel under the weather, I want to run. I want to just lose myself for a half-hour, to feel that boost at the end when I could almost believe I was ten years younger. It reminds me of the days when I used to be more in shape, when I used to consider an hour of physical activity to be a warm-up rather than a challenge.

  • Brilliant post Carole well said :) I'm on week 3 but already I find myself looking forward to getting out there and having that half hour of 'me' time :)

    I'm really looking forward to the day when I'll feel and look like a proper runner. And even though I feel wrecked straight after a run the refreshed feeling that I do eventually get is like no other :) And it's for that I like to keep running :)

    "You make the effort to get out there, no matter what" - I shall remember those words whenever I'm having an off day or don't feel like heading out to run!

  • I'm with you, Carole. I've gone from sneaking out at night into the woods, with a torch and a disguise, to slipping into running tights after work and jogging off down the high street. In 3 months. And that's despite being overweight. I'm no longer self conscious because I reckon I could probably outrun the majority of those who might judge me, what a feeling!

  • Run Forest Run!

  • sounds fantastic. I had to stop at week 4 due to shin and knee pain and doc advised to rest for a couple of weeks but I was really enjoying it and am gutted at having to sit it out! Goodness knows when I'll progress

  • Carole your a star, your posts are Fab - I hope I can feel the love one day too, I wish I wasn't so self concious but I can see how it's improving. It's really reassuring to hear you say it takes you 5 minutes to get into the run because I always seem to find the beginning bit so hard.


  • Thank you guys, for all the nice comments - it's all true though, just keep running, it WILL happen!

  • that's lovely to read - i just did w1, r2 and i didn't even know i had that many muscles to hurt! i'll hang in there, though...

  • Thanks that is so inspirational. I have just completed week 9 and am still not at the point of really enjoying it yet, although I felt a glimmer of hope today! Thank you!

  • Great post, thank you!

  • That is truly poetic, Carole! I have been waxing lyrical too since starting C25k and have loved getting an immense buzz and a huge grin on my face right from week 1 .....this thing that I laughingly refer to as running is better than anything I've EVER done activity-wise, and I can't honestly work out why I didn't do it years ago - though I suspect the answer may have something to do with the lovely Laura.....

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