Just because I love to run does not automatically mean I love to read books about running.

Over the years I’ve been gifted many books, some in the non-fiction running category. And I’ve never read any of them until recently. (Except for the Hanson’s Marathon Method, which I bought myself, read cover to cover, and used for both of my marathons.)

I finally returned to my love of reading. Years of reading (skimming) textbooks in undergrad left me with no desire to pick up a book and read for fun. Thankfully, the yearning returned late 2018, a good three and a half years after undergrad.

With COVID-19 around, my work switched the required on-site staff to 4 x 10-hour days to limit the number of people on-site at once. It was tiring. The good part of that was when the tasks were complete that required focus and precision, I could then tune into a podcast or an audio book. I have so many books on my “unread shelf” that I primarily turned to audio books via a library app so I could tackle my pile. Great decision!

My first running book I conquered was Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. I’ll admit it was untouched for so long because I was intimidated by the size and small font. It was going to be wordy and time-consuming. I didn’t know how much was a memoir and how much was science. In the beginning, I couldn’t believe that any of it was a true story.

I am glad I read it via audio book because it was so wonderfully narrated – engaging and dramatic: I didn’t want to stop listening to it. I completed the book in less than two weeks!

One part particularly stood out to me. That I immediately wrote the chapter number down (chapter 15!) to go back to for this very reason.

               “They’d never forgotten what it was like to love running.” (page 92)

“No wonder so many people hated running; if you thought it was only a means to an end – an investment in becoming faster, skinnier, richer – then why stick with it…?” (page 93)

Yes, I train for races not necessarily to run faster but to challenge myself and if I become faster, that’s an added bonus. Yes, I run to be/stay healthy. Not a chance I would ever win prize money, for that last part, unless it was by lottery, ha-ha.

Ultimately, I 100% agree with that sentence from the book. Running is not a means to an end. We keep coming back for more because we love it. I can go out for a run, not training for anything (also because of COVID-19) and simply enjoy it.

I believe so many people find a hatred for running because they view it as a way to lose weight, and losing weight is already hard work with or without running. Or at some point they “had to” run and resented it because they didn’t get to choose to do it (sports teams come to mind: obviously beneficial cross-training but hear me out. Unlike showing up to cross country practice to run 6 miles that day, they didn’t sign up to run X-miles at practice in addition to their technique drills, but it came along with the sport so they “had to” run. If they really wanted to run, they’d have join track or cross-country instead).

What do you think? If running is a “means towards an end”, is it that why people don’t stick with it? They can’t discover for themselves how they could possibly love running? When did you discover your love for running?