A co-worker of mine (before he knew that I am a runner) said to me, “I don’t understand runners they always look so miserable when they run. I have a neighbor, who runs all the time and he never looks like he is enjoying himself.” I said you probably see him at the end of a run and no runner looks like they are enjoying themselves at the end of a run.
After that conversation I made an effort to think back to when I first started running. I starting running to fill a void that injuries had created. I couldn’t play rugby anymore and I needed a stress release. In the beginning I didn’t love running, but I grew to love it fairly quickly and it became part of my lifestyle. So if I love running, why don’t I appear to love it when I do it? I set out to make a change.
Now I will break out with a goofy smile or even laugh while running. I will admit it wasn’t natural at first, but the more I did it, the more I felt better about my running. I have been able to overcome “bad patches” aka times you feel awful when running by smiling and/or laughing. I even have received such a rush from doing so, that the top of my head tingles and I forget all about any pain or discomfort.
At a 10 mile race earlier this year, a fellow runner told me I was the most relaxed runner he had ever seen. Maybe this smiling thing will change the perception of us by non-runners, who will then join the crew.
Give it a try and see how you (and those who see you running) feel.