Is running purely painful or pleasure?

Over the years I have encountered a good amount of people who ask, “How is running fun?” or “Are you not suffering when you run?”. I can’t help but to think of a good response. A majority of the time I will answer it is painful, it’s not always easy. That answer always strikes a conversation. Who enjoys pain? What could you possibly get out of a dreadful activity? Why not just do some P90x or insanity to get in shape? As a reply to these questions, I care more to see what you other runners would say. I am well aware that running won’t always be seen like this:


I can assure you this picture was not taken 20 miles into the marathon. Even if it was I would not be surprised, the man might have some Taraumara in him. In short, I can say I run most of the time with the goal of punishing myself. How I handle the punishment will determine what type of runner/person I am. Running a 1,600 feet climb over the course of a mile never sounds pain free. However the reward comes at the end of the run. I can either assure myself that my mental and physical strength  were strong enough to help me get through my run or I can man up and face the fact I was too much of weakling to conquer my run. If you are thinking I am being too hard on myself, I’m not. Every human has limits, we however are not able to reach those limits. Just when you think you have nothing, there is always something deep down that will push you to great measure. I said it, your question has been answered. Every runner has their own take on it. Each opinion lets you see why a runner runs and what motivates them to do this on a regular basis.

Therefore I am interested in hearing from you, runner or not. Is running a painful or pleasure-filled experience for you? If you don’t run, how do you perceive those of us who do?


12 comments on “Is running purely painful or pleasure?

  1. I love exercise and enjoy variety, but there’s just something about running. I run because no other activity makes me feel as alive when I do it nor as great afterward. I haven’t been able to catch that high from another sport, and when I’m unable to run because of an injury, it sends me into a funk. It just makes me happy 🙂

  2. I love running because it teaches me to be present and stop worrying about the future. If I start getting tired mid way through my run, it forces me to clear my mind and just focus on the NOW. Plus I love running because it teaches you to kill the inner voice inside your head that tells you to quit.

    Running has taught me a lot about myself.

  3. It’s both – it’s a fun, relaxing and joyous activity. Makes me feel very alive! But it’s also a bit painiful, joints get sore and the body gets tired. As a non-runner I could not understand the joining of the words fun and fun. It took several stars to line up for me to give it go (I married a runner, I did the Global Corporate Challenge and I got a Wii Fit that had a running program on it). Now I run for the challenge of doing something I never thought I could do. Yesterday I popped on my shoes and ran 10kms, just like that. This is so foreign yet so amazingly familiar now, I celebrate every single run that I do. I have got to know myself in a whole new way through running. So while there is pain there is lots of fun! And while sometimes I grimace most of the time I smile when I run because I’m still amazed that I can 🙂

  4. I used to run, but the legs dislike it now, I enjoyed it for a few reasons 1) I hate gyms, so running was easy and outside, 2) as soon as I left my driveway I was working out and it stopped when I got home (much like my bike) 3) the energy at an organized run (or bike ride) is great! and adding competition just spices it up!

    Most of those who think I am nuts for the long rides I take or the runs I did in the day were people who flat never worked out. I either ignore them, or show them some of the routes I’ve done to really make them thing I am crazy. Like the wind pal!

  5. You have to endure some pain in order to improve, but once you reach a certain level of fitness, it’s only as ‘painful’ as you make it. But there’s a big difference between pain & discomfort and what you’re talking about is discomfort. If it’s painful.. there could be something wrong.

    • Yes. At first, it’s all painful. Eventually, you can have easy runs that are meditative and enjoyable. But no matter how good you get, there is always going to be a speed that hurts if you chose to go there.

  6. Oh it hurts afterwards, unless I ride my bike after, but the hurt after the run isn’t a bad hurt. It’s an ‘I did something’ hurt. In that context it’s all good.

      • I do, to me they’re a lot more fun than running. I just got into them two years ago. I stick to the Olympic distance (3/4 m swim, 24.8 bike, 10k run) because I don’t have to train specifically for them – I’m in good enough shape by the end of May that I could do one every weekend if I so desired. My normal Saturday is riding 12 miles to the running club, run 10-20km then an 18 mile ride home (I go the long way). After that it’s just a quick dip in the lake and I’m good.

      • PS… Because I ride home after I’ve run (just to get home) I’ve found that the ride, no matter how hard I go, REALLY helps with recovery from the run. Any pain from the run is usually gone by the evening and I’m back to 100% by morning.

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