Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Runner’s Boredom

As I mentioned the other day, running on the treadmill is *really* boring.  Especially if there is nothing interesting on the TV or nothing good to look at at the gym.  It does not help that typically I run at a pace on the treadmill that is nearly at my limit to maintain for the duration of whatever distance I am choosing to run.  It also does not help that I have been running on the treadmill usually after work when I am already mentally exhausted.

A friend of mine recently pleaded with the universe for alone time and one of her friends suggested the treadmill because that is where she does her best thinking.  I do not even get that reprieve as if I break my concentration too much I can not keep up the pace I am going at.  I run to run, not to think about other things, usually.

It is hard to enjoy the sights when the routes you run are filled with mental markers for time.  For instance when I run the 5K route at my house I know at least a half dozen spots where I can check my time and know if I am on pace to beat my record or not.  All I do is push to be faster.  When the run is over it is satisfying to be better than I was the last time out, but during the run it leaves no space to be unfocused.  If I break my concentration I will not get a fastest time yet, it is that simple.

So yesterday I did things a little different and I found that spot where I again really enjoy running.  I went to the gym (because I had to be away from my house for showings) but I ran the trails instead of running on the treadmill.  I knew I was going to run for about half an hour and I knew that that would be about 5K, but that was it.  The route was new, it was on trails instead of on roads, I had no idea of the actual distance I was going to run.  It was enjoyable, I learned the same lesson last year, but somehow forgot it I guess.  Afterwards I figured out approximately how far it was that I ran and it was about 5.5K and it took me 28 minutes and change.  So I ran much slower than usual.  The point in this situation is not speed though, it’s that I can run and it wasn’t a contest with myself.  I think that this is something that I need to do a little more often if I am to be able to run all summer long this year.

So yeah running, and really exercise in general, can be pretty boring.  If you are working out at a level that you are pushing yourself all the time it is hard to take that mental break during the activity and actually enjoy what you are doing.  Making a change in the routine or stripping away the ability to constantly measure what is happening can really help keep one energized and excited about the whole thing.

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