Running for pure enjoyment

In 2019, the majority of my running activity was centred around a goal of some kind. If it wasn’t a training run for my first half-marathon, it was trying to get a parkrun PB or beat my last 10k race time. While it’s great to have goals and targets, I think it’s also important to sometimes get out there and run, simply because you want to.

I’ve definitely slacked on my running activity recently and the cold, dark evenings really don’t help with this! However, I recently went on a Sunday jog with my best friend, where we ran plenty, we walked a bit, we took in the scenery and we attempted to put the world to rights along the way. This run wasn’t my fastest run or my furthest distance, but it was one of the most enjoyable ones I’ve ever had. And it got me thinking, am I risking losing enjoyment from running because I’m too busy pushing myself to get better results?

There are so many reasons why I love running. Firstly, it’s such an accessible, social sport and anybody can run if you put your mind to it. There are no barriers to entry, no necessary financial burdens and running clubs (particularly mine) are always friendly and fun.

You meet so many interesting people while you’re running too. Everyone has something to say, a race story to unfold, a piece of advice to give based on their experiences or just generally wants to chat! Running is competitive, but only with yourself, so I find that I’m never comparing myself to others, which is great. Your PB is your PB, so you run for yourself and you also run against yourself. I love that!

I’m writing this post to make a commitment to myself – once a week, I’ll get outside to run and thoroughly enjoy every second of it, as it’s happening. And if that consists of jogging, walking, or even hopping along the way, then so be it. I want to enjoy being outside, being active and spending time with loved ones without checking my fitbit for my average pace or the distance travelled.

Running is so important for me because it makes me feel fantastic, both physically and mentally. It’s what I do to clear my head, when I have a bad day at work or just want to boost my energy levels. Beating your PBs and upping your distance is an incredible feeling and I’ll still continue to work towards specific goals, but not so much I risk losing sight of why I run in the first place – because it makes me feel great! That’s what hobbies are all about, after all.

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