Posted by: Shannon @ A Dash of Sparkle | August 8, 2012

Finding the joy in running


I’ve had a sort of love-hate relationship with running ever since I was tween and started running for exercise.

I know it’s good for my heart.

I know it’s one of the fastest ways for me to burn off some of that extra squish and jiggle.

Unfortunately, I also know that my knees hate running and will blow up like balloons if I’m not careful.

And the boredom, oh the boredom! Doing the same thing for miles is just so… boring.

I’m probably never going to be any kind of dedicated runner. I will probably not be looking to complete a marathon – though I did complete a 5K run in my sprint triathlon last year!

Yet, I’ve felt the “runner’s high” almost every time I’ve gone on an outdoor run. You just feel… alive. And it feels good enough to keep me coming back for more.

In my lifelong quest to find health and happiness, however, I’ve learned that there are certain things I can do or have to make the running a bit less monotonous. And as I’m adding more runs into my schedule to complete my August Challenge (let’s face it, running is an easy way of getting a workout in), I am finding that with the right stuff, I can in fact find the joy in running.

Here are my Must Have Happy-Running “Tools:”

  • A scenic & safe location – Running along a busy street doesn’t cut it for this one. I need a forest trail, waterside road or lovely country lane with enough room to run and feel safe from getting rundown by a moronic driver.
  • Good shoes – I didn’t realize just how important this was until I finally got some good running shoes.
  • Music in my head – I’m not talking me running along singing some annoying song stuck in my head, I mean a playlist of tunes through my iPod or iPhone. Oh and the ear buds need to stay in my ears. So frustrating when they keep falling out!
  • No-slip hair clips and elastics – Long hair in my face is a serious buzzkill. And since I have so much hair, the only thing that keeps it up and out of my face are the no-slip clips and elastics. Very important.


Luckily my Tampa home is adjacent to Bayshore Blvd. which is a runner’s paradise with a continuous wide sidewalk set apart from the road by a good sized median, and resting spots for quick rests.


Oh, and did I mention that it’s right next to the ocean overlooking the downtown area?

And there are big, beautiful houses to drool over along the opposite side of the road?

Having access to such a great location has certainly made running easier and more enjoyable.

I use the RunKeeper app on my iPhone to track the majority of my runs. It allows me to map each run and save it so that I can track routes, distances, speeds and full times. As I’m usually on a limited run time (approx 30-40 mins) most mornings (the only time of day I can currently run since it’s not too hot at that point), I just plan to turn around when the app’s lady-voice says “20 minutes completed.”

She even tells me my average pace per mile, which normally makes me feel slow seeing as I start the app during my warmup walk and jog, so I pick up the pace on the way back home.

I’m seeing some improvement in my runs though, which typically go from 3-4 miles. It’s always encouraging to see that!

Are you a runner or perhaps a fair-weather-runner? What do you need, if anything, to have a good run?

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