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:

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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?

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What running has taught me

My runs consist of three things, up hills, down hills and flat areas. My mindset for each type of terrain is totally different, yet it is the same. Lets start with the flat terrain. Whether it’s in the beginning of my run or the ending the flat parts of the course are the least of my worries. It’s the time where my legs are on auto pilot. I am able to enjoy the scenery and focus on pushing myself so that I am simply not slacking off. This is currently how my life is now. I have little to no worries about what is to come and what I had overcame. I can practically enjoy life knowing that it won’t last forever but while I am on earth I should enjoy and savor what I am blessed with.

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Sooner or later we will all run up against the hills. Some may be short and others could last miles. Regardless my heart will pump and my hopes are to run each hill as fast as I can. Pain is inevitable but how you choose to handle the pain is up to you. I use my mind to help me get thought the hills, considering that is the most powerful tool a runner can possess. As I run up a hill I ask myself two questions, how badly do I want to get to the top of the hill? I also ask, how much time do I want to spend going up the hill? These questions help me come to the same conclusion every time. The hill is a long and dreadful part. I want to finish the hill quickly because the longer I spend on the hill the longer I have to live through the suffering. I also tell myself the pain is temporary and once I reach the top I can gain the confidence and endurance to carry me through my workout. One of the reasons the title of the blog is king of the hills is because the purpose is to empower and inspire new and old runners to reach new heights. This goes to say the hills are time in life where I can acknowledge I am in various obstacles. However those obstacles are only temporary, they can help shape who I will become based on how I choose to deal with them is up to me.

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Last but not least are the down hills. I have yet to meet a runner who says they dread down hills. Despite how relaxing and easy down hills might be, you can not reach them until you have passed rough patches of up hills. There’s no need to say my sentiments toward downhills, why? Because I feel the same way you do about them. I enjoy the ride and will surely coast my way down to the flat surface. At the same time I will be sure to recognize a down hill was just completed and I might face an up hill later on. Regardless, I will be sure to keep a smile on my face and to know that whatever hurdle I am facing can only make me stronger and smarter.

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What has running taught you?