Keep It FUN!

by Coach Mat Nark

What elements of your running make it fun for you?  Do you run competitively, run for fun, or both? What are your future running goals and how do they support your lifestyle? Do you find it rewarding to push yourself towards your upper limits or to keep expectations on the lower side? How do you keep your running fun, manage your life, and satisfy all of your personal goals?

By setting goals, establishing a plan, and proper execution you will be on the road to success! The satisfaction that comes with your goal achievement will keep things fun and rewarding at the same time.  I think that when balanced correctly running can be a fun lifelong activity and a compliment to everything you do. That being said, I have seen a number of athletes struggle with keeping this balance between sport and life. Competing at your highest level and keeping it fun and sustainable over time is a common challenge that runners encounter.  Identifying your true level of commitment combined with appropriate goal setting will be the key here. When the goals don’t match one’s level of spare time, work schedules, and family life, conflicts result. These problems then create an environment where runs are missed, goals aren’t achieved, and running is a chore.  As a coach I have recently emphasized the need for more attention towards addressing this issue and running plans that fit your lifestyle better.

Running can be much more fun if you keep the balance between life and sport.  Your goals for the sport and how you will implement them will be the deciding factor. Tangible goals, attention to the plan, and steadfast execution will guide you in your journey.  Whether you’re attempting to qualify for the Olympic Trials, compete locally, or just to stay in shape, you need a direction in which to run. This destination gives us a purpose and will keep us motivated over time. Running is much more fun when you have a destination!

Running with a destination can serve you in a variety of different healthy ways and lead to an overall good time. The physiological and psychological rewards are significant and can be an integral component in maintaining your overall sanity. How many times have you heard runners refer to their running as a form of personal counseling and well being? The therapeutic qualities of regular running can be huge and can translate across everything else that you do in your life.  Use running to your advantage and let the positive outcomes help to make your days more enjoyable.  You will be healthier, fitter, stronger, and ready to tackle all of life’s challenges head on.

Are setting ambitious time goals and pushing yourself to the max what really does it for you?From athlete to athlete the goals may be different and the joy of running may hold a different meaning.

ValeriaFINAL.jpgValeria (pictured at right)  is a mother of two, living in Minot, North Dakota, with an enlisted husband who is away from home for large blocks of time. She runs close to a hundred miles a week and thrives on setting serious running goals. Recently, she narrowly missed her Olympic Trials berth of (2:45) in Houston. Although she narrowly missed the time she sought she remains motivated, hungry, still running fun, and hopes to achieve her goal in the upcoming season. She does a wonderful job of keeping the balance in life and allowing herself to train at this very high level.  Athletes can fall into the trap of setting goals that require complex plans that don’t fit their lifestyle.  When this happens it can lead to a loss of joy for the sport, poor performances, and in some cases total burn out. Keeping the balance with concrete goal setting and plans that support the rest of your life will keep running fun for years to come.


Pictured on right:

Valeria Curtis: 2019 Houston Marathon)

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