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Running As Play

I recently attended TEDx Asheville. Side note: If you aren’t familiar with TED talks, they are short presentations focused on “ideas worth spreading.” Here are two of my favorite running related talks.

At this TEDx event, Bernie DeKoven shared his thoughts on play, and how as adults, we’re removed from the playfulness of our childhood that once created so much joy.

As he says, adults are often too embarrassed to embrace play:

  •  Playfulness at the office means we aren’t being professional
  •  Playfulness at home means we aren’t being productive
  •  Our hobbies are often taken over by the desire to be an expert, putting pressure on something that we started for pure enjoyment

As we get older, it’s only natural to become less playful because our minds shift to more important things. Family, work, and grown-up responsibilities all come before play.

Wasn’t life more fun when play was the #1 priority?

How Runners Lose Their Sense of Play

When it comes to running, we fall into that same trap.

Ask a runner what motivates them to keep running, and they’ll probably answer with some sort of self improvement goal:

  •  Getting faster
  •  A new distance goal
  •  Weight loss
  •  Winning

Rarely will they answer with something as simple as, “it’s just so much fun.”

To test out my theory, I decided to actually ask the world (or at least my followers) via Twitter. Here’s what you said.

Most of the answers looked something like this:


A fantastic reason to run (they all were), and honestly, if I responded to a tweet like that, I’m sure I would have said something similar.

But out of the 12 people who responded, only two mentioned enjoyment, and one of those people listed it as her third reason.Continue Reading


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