I was reading my most recent issue of Runner’s World magazine this morning and an article by Kathryn Arnold in the Newbie Chronicles section caught my attention. It was titled “Kid Stuff” and talked about how she used to enjoy running as a child but dreaded it as an adult and didn’t even consider herself a runner.
It got me to thinking.
At what point in adolescence or adulthood did we start looking at running as a “hobby to nowhere” instead of remembering it as a skill that helped us play?
Yes, there are the crazies, those of us that have ignited a passion for the sport in our adulthood but I’m wondering what happened to the others? The people that us crazies used to kick the ball to in kickball? That we used to play with in a neighborhood pickup game of TV tag, seek and go hide or sharks and minnows? Those people used to love running then…
Running has tried to appeal to the “game” lover by creating races such as Color Runs, obstacle runs such as Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, and Spartan Races along with huge multi-day relay races like Ragnar, appealing to the adventure seeker.
But really, when I think about the majority of my “non-runner” friends, the reason most of them don’t run is because they don’t think they are runners, don’t enjoy it, and don’t believe they can become runners. Last I checked, you didn’t have to run a specific distance or time/mile to be one. Is a tennis player not a tennis player because they aren’t a level 5.0? Or is a basketball player less of player because into adulthood, they only play on a church league? Of course not. You may not be an elite runner, but so few are.
The key is learning how to get back to being the 8 year old you again. How to LIKE running. That doesn’t mean sign up for a Tough Mudder (that actually seems quite nasty to me). What I’m trying to say is the next time you lace up and head outdoors for a run, remind yourself that running is something our bodies are were designed to do, and used to enjoy doing. Pace and distance be damned and just run and FEEL like an 8 year old again.
So the question of at what point did we start looking at running as a “hobby to nowhere” (you know when you started saying “why would I want to run when I could drive?” sort of things) instead of remembering it as a skill that helped us play really comes down to when did you grow up? When did you start prioritizing responsibility over fun? When did playing outside with friends become a distant memory because extracurriculars or demanding homework took precedence?
Go back there and find that kid and take him/her for a run. You may surprise yourself.