Caring a lot about running sometimes feels selfish and pointless, especially when I’m out in the real world surrounded by people that aren’t singularly focused on a thing that is really just… exercise. I haven’t trained consistently or run much since college, but my heart and my mind will always return to wanting to be a runner.
I do see value in stepping away from the sport when necessary, and I want to promote a balanced approach to living a runner lifestyle. But in the end, I’m a runner.
This post is about explaining the value of having passion for something, like running, even when it may feel selfish or pointless or crazy. A lot of it is probably obvious and stuff you all already believe, but sometimes it’s nice to get a reminder that your passion for running does add value to life in other ways.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have something they care about
When you’re not in a competitive running environment, you come to learn that not everyone has a passion. Many people are completely content not having anything they really care about, and it seems to work for them. They’ll look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them about your long runs and 5am wake up calls.
There is a barrier that you might not ever be able to overcome with them, because they’ve never really experienced this level of commitment to something. It’s not your job to convert them to being a runner or to try to get them to care about something. Your job is to continue caring about what you care about and not allowing misunderstanding or criticism to change you.
It’s not that being passionate and dedicated to running is inherently good, but that so much value is added to life just by giving a damn about something.
The value of caring about running, specifically
Running provides structure, discipline, and requires diligence. You’re only going to get through the tough workouts and boring rehab if you care about it. But, the rewards are worth it. Running grounds you by providing a daily intent.
I’ve struggled to justify spending time on running—or exercising in general— when there are so many things to be done that can benefit other people instead of just myself, but when it comes down to it, running for an hour a day isn’t going to take away from your ability to contribute to altruistic causes and succeed in a meaningful career. In fact, running often makes you vulnerable, which leads to greater empathy of others, which I think will ultimately lead you to give back to the community even more.
Benefits of caring a lot about any one thing
- Ambition in one thing seeps into other things.
- Hard work breeds hard work.
- Resilience is a skill everyone needs.
- Community with other people that care about that thing.
- Connection to those people that put themselves through hell caring about that thing.
- Inspire others to care and put in an effort.
- Complacency breeds complacency.
- Without passion for something, you’ll struggle to empathize with others about their passions.
Passion and caring are inherently good things and will make you a better person in a lot of other areas. It will enhance your life and give you qualities that will seep into other areas of your life.
Living without passion is more like floating without purpose, doing whatever you think you ought to do. Without having passion for something in your own life, I think you’ll have trouble having passion for people. Relationships will suffer. You’ll be incapable of empathy, especially for people that do have passion.
If you’re a runner, you should acknowledge the value in the passion you have for the sport. Not everyone is lucky enough to have something like this and the value it will add to your life is immeasurable.