When exactly did running become such an aggressive sport? Or to be more specific the talking about running, it seems that whenever people talk about running on social media they use phrases like “go hard or go home” or “I smashed that run”. Perhaps it’s my polite Britishness coming out but why does but does a tough run have to be so aggressive? Do these people go out for a run so full of testosterone that they look like a boxer about to enter the ring? I have visions of them snarling as they approach other people and then chest bumping each other when they finish.
I can understand sprinters needing to get into a mindset like this but keeping it going for even a 5k would be exhausting wouldn’t it? Wasting all that energy on being aggressive is just pointless and likely to make you tense up not perform better.
On a more serious note it can already be intimidating for new runners joining our sport and I think this kind of attitude is only going to make things worse. It makes what should be a very simple and pleasant sport macho and competitive which for the vast majority of runners isn’t what they want.
It also focus firmly on the outcome of a run rather than the run itself, for me 99% of my runs are about being outside and running and not about the time I ran. I’d much rather come back from a run and be excited about the scenery I saw of the people I ran with than the fact I ‘smashed’ my PB by 20 seconds. One of the most enjoyable runs I’ve had recently was a very leisurely 9 miles along the Ridgeway with a group of local runners that I was meeting for the first time. The time flew by as we chatted about races we’d done, places we’d been and of course the gear we used.
I know not everyone will share my reasons for running or have the same goals as me, but I truly believe part of our role as runners should be to inspire others to take up the sport. You won’t create a life long runner by constantly talking about smashing targets or that unless you run at 100% there is no point going out. Don’t let running become like gyms up and down the countries where guys huddle around the weights working solely on their guns.
I’ll leave you with a photo that I think sums up what running means to me. Do you agree? Or am I just being a little British about this?