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Don't you get bored?

Comments (17)
By Peter Hadzipetros

Sitting around a table at a local watering hole the other day, chilling out after one of those action-packed CBC softball league games during which no one pulled any muscles, took a line drive in the face or collided with an outfielder while screaming "I got it, I got it, I got it, oops!", the topic turned to other forms of exercise.

And — as is sometimes the case during these malted beverage discussions — I got peppered with the why's and wherefore's of long-distance running.

Randi — who favours inline skating and throwing the ball hard enough to leave a nasty red welt in the palm of your catching hand — said she could understand running a bit. Maybe a few kilometres.

"Don't you get bored?" she asked.

"Yeah, sometimes," I said. "Parts of 'The English Patient' and 'Brokeback Mountain' had me on the fasttrack to snoozeville. But getting bored while running?"

Thing is, there's lots to keep you occupied during a run.

You can:

  • Focus on your form.
  • Concentrate on your breathing technique.
  • Work on increasing your stride rate.
  • Picture yourself running your goal race.

Or, you could just have fun.

You can drink in your surroundings, clear your head, listen to your breathing or the sound of your feet hitting the ground. You can even just smell the roses.

I have stopped to watch deer grazing, fish jumping and hawks circling. Or were they vultures? Still not sure.

I've listened to waves breaking and watched the power of flowing water. I've planned out dinner menus, gone over several drafts of a 20-minute speech and even written this post. Well, I didn't actually write it — the paper would have gotten soaked from the sweat and all the words would have disappeared.

Sometimes you can just shut everything down, go on cruise control and emerge rejuvenated at the end of it.

Running is exercise and exercise is a celebration of life. Celebrating a couple hours of life is never boring.

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Comments (17)

Miranda Dixon-Luinenburg

I love distance swimming too. While the rest of my swim team does sprints and butterfly (don't get me wrong, I love butterfly, but it's NOT relaxing!) I go off in my own lane and spend some time with myself in my head. I don't usually get bored, and if all else fails i still have to count my laps. That's the one thing that gets me about pool swimming...it's impossible to get into a really good daydream when you have to add to your tally every time you get to the end of the pool. I love lakes...I do laps around the lake at my cottage, each lap is 1.2 km, and sometimes i do 7 or 8 laps just because I'm so deep into a daydream that i don't want to stop, and i know that the minute i get out of the water, the rest of my family will be bothering me again. Also it's an awesome excuse not to do chores, and when I'm stressed about tests or exams or whatever, I go over the stuff in my head. And in lakes I never start getting worried that my splits are too slow or whatever. It's like meditation or something, and there's one cottage with kids and they always cheer and wave when i go past! It's like oh, here she comes again! I hate it when i smell someone's barbecue, though. It makes me so hungry!

Posted September 23, 2007 06:33 PM

John G. Lyng

Toronto

Me, I like to do laps in the pool.

I just love staring at a painted line underwater for an hour.

Posted June 26, 2007 09:25 PM

David Taylor

Long runs are a gift. Even here in a huge, polluted city, my weekly long runs on a 3k loop in Chapultepec Park give me a chance to see Mexicans at play, the hills around the city (which aren't lost in the smog on a Sunday morning), and noodle over whatever is on my mind. And as I exit the park for the last 2.5k to my apartment, it's time to kick it up and enjoy a nice surge to the end. There is nothing like finishing strong after being on your feet for a couple of hours. Boring? Never.

Posted June 26, 2007 07:45 PM

Ryan

Halifax

chandrasutra:

To say that "the kind of people who announce that running is "boring" are likely pretty boring", is complete BS. 100% It's also generalizing.

ie. I think that people who have blonde hair are airheads. See what I mean.

It's called subjective opinion. You are entitled to yours, as is everyone else. Individualism is a trait that cannot be avoided.

Running is NOT a necessity, it's a choice.

Posted June 22, 2007 02:35 PM

chandrasutra

Toronto

Invariably, the kind of people who announce that running is "boring" are likely pretty boring. It's kind of like saying you don't like a particular mirror because of what it reflects. Running is a mirror of ourselves and our minds. Whatever we bring to running, it reflects back to us.

Running is a sport that involves your entire self - body, mind, spirit as well as your surroundings. The way I see it, if you say you are bored, then you are bored with yourself and your world (i.e., disconnected). Take heart - most of us these days ARE disconnected - from our bodies and each other, which is why we're so unhealthy and continually grabbing for the next treat, stimulant or fix (whether that's the TV remote, a beer or that favourite snack. This is the very reason you SHOULD be running. For if you require constant stimulation and disconnection from your own thoughts and mind, time alone with yourself is precisely what you need. Some time away from the computer, the TV, the playstation, the cel phone and all those other distractions that form a wall between ourselves, each other and our world.

Posted June 22, 2007 12:21 PM

Nick Kovacs

Victoria

One word "IPOD". I just put on the tunes and off I go. Of course if I get tired of the music, its nice to just hear the wind, listen the birds and keeping an eye on on the rustling in the bushes (just in case). My run is also a great time to think about what I want to do for the weekend or if I am having a good run, try pushing that much harder for a personal best.

Posted June 21, 2007 06:29 PM

Max Air

I find creating a mental rhythm, like internal singing that Lynn was talking about, really makes my leisurely runs more enjoyable. Your creativity seems heightened when you're out in nature...

However, for the intense/near race-pace runs, where you want a steely focus, I rhythmically cycle 1 or 2 focus words related to form through my mind while switching the words up when I get bored.

When you do get too bored, just envision you're being chased by a rabid wolf or tiger...You know much fear speeds you up - I know I'm not the only one who jolts their speed up when they hear rustling in the woods beside them...Or you could just change where you run.

Posted June 21, 2007 02:32 PM

Lee Hewitt

Toronto

I've felt exhausted, elated, in agony, out of sync, hungry, sick, optimistic, awed, relaxed, confident and just plain goofy on long runs. But never, ever bored.

If you don't like to watch and ponder like some others have mentioned here, run with a buddy or a group. You'll be amazed how much you can learn about someone while you're on the road.

Posted June 20, 2007 01:58 PM

Michael Brennan

TO

Peter, I agree with you... runs can be a great time to de-stress, to plot and plan, to sort things out. Many an issue or puzzle on one's mind before a run is much reduced after a run.

And how about dreaming about winning a local marathon or even Boston? How will all your friends view you now, with your picture and achievement all over the news? Dreaming doesn't cost a cent but it's often overlooked as a superb way to pass the time running, driving, whatever. It's 'fantasizing' that gets you in trouble!

Posted June 20, 2007 12:42 PM

David Silver

Winnipeg

Ourdoor running never gets booring, but on a treadmill I can almost fall asleep. The endorphins just don't pump hard enough while running in place.

Posted June 20, 2007 11:35 AM

Jim

Timmins

Oh man are you going to get slammed for "gushing" like that. I agree, but it was supposed to be a secret. As far as I'm concerned, you will never be more organic than when you connect to surroundings and self on a long run or bike ride. When I bike the highways and trails of Northern Ontario, I'm always amazed at the wildlife that I see when I go 25km/hr as opposed to 100. If there is any one reason why you wont get me into a gym (weights, treadmill, bike, etc.) for my primary workout, it is the joy of being outside, getting a "chi" fillup. And if that doesn't work, there is the odd snarling mutt to get your attention in a hurry.

Posted June 20, 2007 09:01 AM

Lynn Johnson

Halifax

I sing. Billie Jean. One Night in Bangkok. Summer of 69. Crazy. Whatever crosses my mind. If I forget some words, I just make them up. Naturally, I use my inner voice. I'd probably get arrested bolting down the boulevard singing Michael
Jackson songs at the top of my lungs.

Posted June 20, 2007 08:10 AM

Nathan Granger

Saskatoon

Like meditation, it takes a while to settle into it. Ever since I got a dog, a setter, spaniel, retriever cross, I began running, about 2-3 hours a day. In the beginning, it felt much longer. Now, time compresses, and I only know I've been running that long because of the distance I've covered, or because the sun is setting. My mind just empties and I feel connected to my surroundings.

Posted June 20, 2007 08:01 AM

Samson Mageaux

Trois-Rivieres

Me, I dont care to know nothing. Yea, I bored, but so what. Thats life and anyobdy that says no is lying.

Posted June 20, 2007 07:25 AM

Colin Wood

Sad that, as a society, we don't know how to handle leisure anymore. That's why everyone works all the time; that's why people come back from vacation early. They have nothing to say to themselves. Their inner dialogue is one big awkward silence. But we are told leisure is synonymous with laziness and ambition gone missing. Another contributor to making Canada dumb, fat and stressed. Sad.

Posted June 20, 2007 07:22 AM

J P Lalonde

Montreal

If you're getting bored, you obviously don't have enough going on up there; so don't despair, do something about it. Read something. Fill your head with new ideas. Lift yourself from the stagnation that you're regular joe and joes think is human existence. Propagate the philosophy that knowing something is a good thing; and it can be anything at all. Really. We glorify idiocy and simple-mindedness in this mired PC society. I haven't been bored since the mid 80s, and that had more to do with the 80s than anything else.

Posted June 20, 2007 07:15 AM

Darrow

Oakville

My solo runs are times to think, or not think. Both are good. My longer run on the weekend tends to be the time when I work out the progression my sermon will take on Sunday morning.

Posted June 19, 2007 09:30 PM

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About the Author

Peter HadzipetrosPeter Hadzipetros is a producer for the Consumer and Health sites of CBC News Online. Until he got off the couch and got into long distance running a few years ago, he was a net importer of calories.

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I love distance swimming too. While the rest of my swim t...
Don't you get bored?
Me, I like to do laps in the pool. I just love s...
Don't you get bored?
Long runs are a gift. Even here in a huge, polluted city,...
Don't you get bored?
chandrasutra: To say that "the kind of people who...
Don't you get bored?
Invariably, the kind of people who announce that running ...
Don't you get bored?

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