What is your reason to run? What is your reason for exercise? Or maybe you’ve lost it…

Maybe your reason is to maintain fitness or lose weight. Maybe it is to run further or faster. Maybe it is even to boost mood and self-esteem. Whatever your reasons, do you ever run or exercise simply for the pure enjoyment of it? 

Having a reason to run or exercise is paramount to achieve the goal you have set yourself. By having a goal, it gives you focus and a motivation to keep lacing up your trainers and stepping out that door. We all need something to be working towards, it helps us to structure our training and monitor our progress. 

However, having a consistent purpose-driven focus can lead to burnout. Physically and mentally. Running can become no longer enjoyable, it can become a means to an end or maybe even a burden. You may find yourself having to achieve something by the end of every single run/workout. It could be a certain time, distance or number of reps. This can become tiresome, lead to a plateauing of your progress and maybe even a complete rejection of doing what you once loved. 

So often, people come to me with how they have lost their love for running and exercise. More often than not it comes down to the fact that they have cut out the fun and enjoyment element. Unintentionally, we can get so fixated on achieving, we neglect or even forbid ourselves from running for pleasure. 

Include fun runs into your routine. Run for the sheer joy of it. Just go out and run. Leave the watch at home, don’t worry about pace and setting records, don’t worry about how far you go. Don’t plan a route just see where your feet take you. Go explore somewhere new, go off road, get muddy and not care. Leave the phone at home or even take it with you and take pictures as you go but just keep them for yourself – you are running for your own enjoyment not others. Don’t worry about getting lost, you are never too far from home and it all adds to the fun and sense of fulfilment that you managed to find your way eventually. Run in the hills, run in a forest or maybe run – stop for a coffee – and run some more. If you feel like running hard for a bit do it, if you want to run slow who cares – the purpose to these runs is that there is no real purpose. 

It is great to have goals and a purpose to run/exercise, it is what motivates us and allows us to achieve. We should have this, but every single run doesn’t have to be goal orientated. You will burn out and become mentally fatigued. Fun runs will help you avoid burnout, remain passionate year after year and keep achieving your goals. Plus, they are simply just more fun! 

Let me know how you get on. 

Alex Cann

AC Running and Fitness