When Running Frustrates Me (I Keep Running)

2 min read

“I am a runner because I run. Not because I run fast. Not because I run far. I am a runner because I say I am. And no one can tell me I’m not.”

John Bingham

Now that I have a few years of (fairly) consistent running under my belt, I can tell you definitively: I am not a good or fast runner, and I rarely enjoy it.

Truthfully, running wouldn’t interest me except for what it does for my fitness and health. To me, running is the equivalent of chopping vegetables: I’m not in it for the experience; I’m looking forward to the meal.

This has remained true despite formal and informal training. With practice and help, running has gotten easier in some ways, but it’s never easy.

Most runs are tolerable. Some are tough. A few are downright grueling.

But lately when I come in from a neighborhood run, I feel frustrated with myself. I go out into the wild outdoors and bust my butt, yet I come home dripping sweat and somehow disappointed.

Why? This year, I set the goal to run a 5k in 30 minutes, and I’m learning how hard it may be to achieve it. It’s particularly poignant when I come in from runs with 12 and 13 minute splits (or more).

I think my frustration comes from a few sources. First, I’m nearing my big race of the season–this is when I’m supposed to be at my top shape! But I’m finding what I can bring to the starting line is humbler than I expected. Second, I’ve been working on this for a few months now and I thought I would see bigger results at this point.

And also, I’m the kind of person who gets caught up in achieving a goal, sometimes despite myself. I’ll set a goal because it’s better than having none at all, and then I’ll get wrapped up in needing to achieve it.

The truth is that it would serve me better as a person (and a runner) to let go of more of my ego and gain a lot more perspective.


Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

8 Replies to “When Running Frustrates Me (I Keep Running)”

  1. A few years is a remarkably long time to keep up something like running that’s difficult and not very enjoyable. Regardless of the speed, that’s an impressive feat!

  2. Hey, lighten up on yourself! You’ve done so well, you should be very proud. The mere fact that you’ve stayed with it, through all the ups and down for the ULTIMATE goal of it being good for you is quite an achievement. Forget the time/distance thing and enjoy the benefits of it and the knowledge that you’re doing things few others can/will do!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Dad! Knowing myself, I’m sure I won’t be able to take my goal completely away from time and distance stuff. But the less I can be focused on it, and learn to run/exercise for the fun and health of it, the better off I think I’ll be.

  3. Tried to leave a comment from my iPad, but evidently didn’t work. Anyway, don’t be so hard on yourself! You should be very, very proud. You’ve stuck with your regimen and you’re doing something for yourself because it’s GOOD FOR YOU! The whole time/distance goal thing is a fine thing to try, but only if it makes you feel good about yourself…otherwise, forget about it and just run, for running’s sake. You’re doing something that few others can/will do…quite an accomplishment, I’d say.

    1. I think the site didn’t recognize your email address, for whatever reason.

      I’m so glad that you and Mom are also getting in lots of good exercise, too–and also that you’re having fun doing it!

      The longer I do this, the more I think how unfortunate it is that so many people don’t get even moderate exercise. It can be a game changer for a person’s health and wellbeing.

  4. I’m so impressed with your discipline and determination! The fact that you have kept it up for so long because you want to improve yourself, even though it’s unpleasant, is so inspiring! Choosing to keep improving regardless of how you feel demonstrates so much strength and perspective already. The results you’re seeing, in terms of times and such, seem pretty unimportant to me when compared with that. You’re definitely inspiring me to become more disciplined too, and I appreciate that so much!

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