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Finding the Fun in Running: Why Enjoyment Should be a Key Principle in Running Coaching

Our first principle is enjoyment.

Training shouldn't be an obligation, rather, it should be something you engage with while spending time doing the things you enjoy. That's not to say that 100% of training should be enjoyable, but the practice of seeking out improvement and challenge should be enjoyable for you. We want to move away from the notion that training is a punishment or something you feel obligated to do as a result of your social circle or other circumstances. There are a multitude of ways to improve and usually the best methods of seeking out improvement are grounded in doing the things you enjoy. More simply, when you enjoy something you generally want to do more of it. In most cases, the more of something you do the better you become in the process.

As we mentioned above, training isn't always enjoyable so it's important to have a good understanding of your motivations. Motivation can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is defined as the doing of an activity for its inherent satisfaction, rather than for some separable consequence. Extrinsic motivation is a motivation that is driven by external rewards. These rewards can be tangible, like money or awards, or intangible, like praise and fame. Generally speaking, we see people more likely to succeed and enjoy the process of training and racing when they're intrinsically motivated. 

For a lot of people, training is something that takes time away from other things such as family life, work schedule and social engagements. When you're devoting hours each week to something in the process of improvement you definitely want to be spending that time doing something you enjoy. Training is a choice, it's an optional activity that you choose to engage with each week so why would you spend that time doing something you don't enjoy? 

Some people get into running as a means of moving away from a negative space and there is a period where training is grounded more in moving away from this negative than it is about moving closer towards a positive. In these circumstances it's worth exploring different things in training. Maybe you'll enjoy time on the trails, maybe you'll naturally gravitate towards roads, perhaps you'll find some fun on the track. Taking the time to establish what it is you enjoy is an important process and something that can often be forgotten when starting out. 

As a final note, motivation follows action, rarely the other way around. So when you go through periods where you feel your motivation dipping it's important to remember that sequence. 

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