Updated: Sep 7, 2020
I can't tell you how many people I meet that say that they would rather watch paint dry, then go for a run. For someone who has been running for as long as I can remember and reaping the many benefits, this negative relationship to running is mind boggling.
So why do people hate running so much?? Some believe that it has been ingrained in our minds from a young age, by our parents, teachers and especially lifeguards, who constantly admonished us to "walk, don't run". Makes sense, but another plausible reason stems from the fact that when we were young, running was used as a punishment. Whether it was your gym teacher or sports coach, we can all remember the consequence of being late, talking to your friend or just slacking off - "take a lap ... or 10". Such memories left many with a pretty negative relationship with running and happy when they no longer had to do it. Such a shame because unlike other sports we may have participated in when growing up, running is the easiest sport to maintain throughout our lives. How many of us are still playing team sports like soccer or football??
So given the above, it is not so surprising that another common response to running that I get is, "the only time you will see me run is if I am being chased by a bear." I have yet to see anyone chased by a bear and hope it stays that way, but I would like to see more running converts. This does not mean cramming for a 5K that your best friend or boss signed you up for in support of their favorite cause. My suggestion, if you are inclined to give running a second (or third, fourth... ) chance, is to find a reputable 0-5K program that takes at least 10 weeks to complete. Even better would be to do the program with other runners, as like most things, when in good company anything (even watching paint) is better.
Once a person changes their preconceived notions about running, they will find out what running can be! A major reason runners find it so fulfilling is because it checks all the boxes when it comes to physical, mental and emotional well being. More specifically, running can reduce stress, improve heart health, alleviate symptoms of mild depression and anxiety, improve sleep and ability to focus, fight age-related cognitive decline and increase longevity.
As you know I already drink the "running coolaid", but hopefully this blog gives you enough juice for thought to consider finding out if running really is better than watching paint dry.