Until not long ago to the question. “Do you really enjoy running?” I would have answered resolutely, “No, I feel better afterwards, though. I struggle and doing it is never good, but in the end you are rewarded.” I realize that the length of the answer already suggests that this is not an easy relationship. No, it’s hard to have a relaxed relationship with running-especially when you haven’t done it for a long time. Let’s say eating ice cream or watching a movie always seem preferable solutions.
At least in the beginning.
Lately, however, I have realized that running does not really weigh me down anymore, nor that I consider it a less-than-pleasant activity on average but rather, I seek it out because it has become a pleasure. Have I gone crazy? It may be but I suspect the reason is something else, and the good news is that it can be applied to so many things in life, not just running.
It’s when it becomes a habit
How did running become a normal and even enjoyable activity when by nature it is not? The answer is simple: running has become a habit, and the more natural and automatic an activity is, the less we bother doing it.
It could be argued that working or cooking are also usual activities but that does not make them either natural or pleasant (although for many, including myself, cooking is), and it is true. With one major difference: many of those annoying activities are in fact something imposed on us and that we have to do (to earn a living and be part of society, or to have something to eat, in specific cases) and not something that we freely choose to do. No one is forcing us to run, and the fact that we chose to do it makes it different from so many other things we do anyway. The unconditioned choice makes all the difference.
The modes then do the rest.
Habit changes behavior
Habits are the small bricks that make up a large building: that of behaviors. If you want to take on more virtuous ones-in short, ones that bring you benefit and well-being-you have to start with habits. By making them precisely, such: usual things. To acquire behavior that is radically different from what you are used to is very difficult if not impossible, at least suddenly and overnight. Doing so by changing habits or introducing new ones is the solution.
Running is one of them. It’s not easy at first but the benefits it gives you pay for themselves. The result is to modify or give rise to behaviors you never thought you could handle and endure. But you chose them at the end of the day because when you decided to run you didn’t just choose to do a new thing, but you mostly chose to change.
This is not easy to do at first, but as you become familiar with it and the gesture (athletic, in the case of running) becomes natural and desired, changing to a more radical form is a natural consequence that you almost don’t notice except on balance, i.e., after results are achieved.
Until the day comes when the idea of going for a run feels like the reward of the day and not a meaningless suffering. In any case, think that you wanted it, taking control of your life. It feels good, doesn’t it?