Like any endeavour, running and being “a runner” involves contrasts. It can be easy or hard, fun or tedious, simple or challenging, uplifting or soul destroying. But I’ve found the key to long term satisfaction in running is to treat it much the same way that you treat that dog you love. Assuming of course that you have a dog…. If not, just humour me for now.
Some days you wake up and your dog is standing there smiling at you, so you jump out of bed simply because you want to give your time to him/her. Other days your dog has chewed up the remote control, so your feelings about him/her are somewhat different.
Running can be like that too. Often getting out there and pushing yourself just feels so right, and other days you can feel like it’s all just too hard.
But if we know that running is like a dog, we can remind ourselves that while some days are better than others, ultimately your dog loves you more than anything in the world, and it will always be there for you, ready when you are. Running is more like that dog than you know. If you can put up with the odd chewed up remote control, random holes dug in your garden and the smelly landmines on or lawn, then you will be rewarded 1000 times over by what you get in return.
Both your dog and your running are loyal to a fault, but don’t forget to make deposits in that loyalty bank too. Leave either your dog or your running alone for too long and you’ll have trouble. Your dog will will be excited to see you, but all the good habits, obedience, and other positive traits that you worked so hard to establish will start to fade, and you’ll be back where you started. So be persistent and reliable in your own habits so that your dog, AND your running loves you back.