004 Learning to enjoy a good run

  • Why running  is finally working for me now?

My waist size has reduced from 38 to 33 inches after shedding 8 kg over the recent few months.  Of the changes I made,  I believe running made the biggest difference. The greater significance is really not in weight reduction, but rather in having learnt to enjoy running now.

  • Why running did not work in the past?

For a long time, I never quite like running. I remember creating a password “runforyourlife” for one of my often-used apps to remind myself not to give up on running. That reminder very much summed up how I felt towards running, which is, a necessary evil in order to stay alive. 

At best, running was instrumental to maintaining my weight that had long crossed the obesity threshold, which offered litte consolation. At worst, it was a punishing regime that I had learnt to put up with. It was only recently that I realised my ill-conceived idea about running was an impediment to my undying efforts to improve health for many years. 

Knowing that I must run to improve health might have been a reason good enough in getting me started, but it was not a reason strong enough to keep me at it. In fact, running has always been a broken string of on-and-off affairs for me. 

The reasons of giving-up are aplenty such as family commitments, frequent work travels, occasional flu and lethargy, as well as external conditions such as  bad weather conditions and haze, which are well beyond my control. The truth is no matter how much a person may value his or her health, there are always reasons for not feeling good enough to run.

  • Underestimated the value of joy

The problem is, like many people who do not like running, I had greatly underestimated the value of joy in running itself. I used to think it is a sheer lack of strict discipline on my part, so I downplayed the dreadful parts of running such as its monotonous routine, the muscle aches that build up around the calves, the breathless panting that arises after I go too fast, or the occasional  knee cap pains I experienced. I would always try to cope by moderating the intensity and duration when such symptoms become too hard to ignore.

On hindsight, I have been hoodwinked by the conventional wisdom of “no pain, no gain.” The gains I got was meagre and the pains had made the efforts to continue running unsustainable.

Thanks to the books I read on running, especially those written on enjoying a good run by authors who used to have trouble with running in the past, I start to see those dreadul symptoms as signs from my body telling me to improve the ways I run. 

  • Three key points to enjoy running

Through experimentation on the tips I gathered, I arrived at 3 points that make a run enjoyable. 

1. Enjoy going easy and keeping it just right always

Run at a pace, duration and frequency that your body tells you is just-right to keep going.

2. Enjoy the peak moments of energy level 

Run to a point that you arrive at some peak moments of satisfaction that allow you to experience the adrenaline of a sudden rush of energy.

3.  Enjoy an ending with recovery in perspiration 

Run must be completed with a good ending of recovery that allows you to enjoy the perspiration and release of energy.

Now that I focused my thoughts on learning how to enjoy a good and healthy run, running is no longer an ordeal, but a routine that keeps me happier and fitter. To the people I care for, I hope my experience in running  is useful to you in one way or another. Perhaps, we can enjoy a run together one day.

William W.K. Tan


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