The Bullshit Report

Running is Boring

WELCOME TO EARTH: Fartlek Training

This is The Bullshit Report, the angry little corner of POSSESSED magazine where we attack and debunk some outrageous, long-held myth from the world of running. 

It’s almost pointless writing this month’s B.S. Report, as it’s all about that silly myth that running is boring, and if you’re reading this, you’re a runner, and you already know running is not boring. But then again, perhaps you’re a non-runner who landed here after googling How to make Psycho-Snickerdoodles. In which case, welcome! Now, let me explain why running is not boring.

Non-runners, like yourself, I’m assuming, look at running and think, ‘Man, that looks so boring. I’d rather have Atlas Shrugged read to me by Ben Stein on a cough syrup binge than do that.’ And I know this because I was once a non-runner. Yes, there was once a time when I hated running. I was like, ‘What? Put on shorts and just run around the place? I’d rather be trapped in an elevator with someone named “Gavin” who does data entry and has IBS.’ But then I started running, and all that changed.

The first thing I noticed when I began running was that it hurt. My legs ached, my eyes watered, and my throat and lungs felt like they were on fire. It sucked, and I was in too much pain to notice if it was boring or not. If anything, I found it interesting that I was running twice a week despite how much I did not like it. Then one day, maybe three months or so in, the discomfort settled down, and I found I could run for a little longer and even a little faster than before. That was a highly interesting development. I could feel my body adapting. I was changing, getting fit, and there was nothing boring about that at all.

After a year of this, I signed up for a half marathon, which was, frankly, the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me—and I once took David Bowie’s breakfast order! Really. He had baked eggs and a black coffee. David Bowie was very nice, but signing up for a half marathon was more interesting than that because—holy shit—I signed up for a half marathon?! It was incomprehensible, and yet it happened, and then the day rolled around, and I ran that half marathon—which, in itself, was very, very fucking interesting: I was surrounded by thousands of happy people all running in the same direction on a sunny day. That experience remains one of the least boring events in my life, and the sense of personal achievement at the end was the complete opposite of dull. It was fantastic. But did non-race-day running get boring after that? 

No, it did not. Here’s why.

Firstly, when I go for a run, I take different routes and explore neighborhoods I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Even a five-kilometer run is an opportunity to pass through different environments and see interesting things. You also have the option of exploring different terrains. Think about what it must be like to run on a dirt trail through a silent winter forest. I’ve done that, and it wasn’t boring, believe me. You can also experiment with running at different times of the day. For example, nothing beats seeing the sun come up on a morning run. It’s one of the most wonderful, life-reaffirming things you can do.

I already mentioned the un-boring physical benefits of running, but what about the mental benefits? Are they boring? No. There’s nothing boring about feeling better about yourself and the world around you. No one ever said, ‘Ugh, it’s so mind-numbing to feel as calm and optimistic as I do right now.’ Improving your mental health—especially in 2024, when it seems like everything is engineered to make us go insane—will not make you yawn. And then, of course, there’s the runner’s high, which is very real and very pleasant and not boring. In my experience, it’s a bit of a Zen thing, like, you can’t find it while you’re looking for it, but when it comes on, it’s the best feeling ever, and in no way is it tedious.

The final not-boring thing about running is the social component. When you get into running, you end up making new friends whether you like it or not. Since I began running in earnest five years ago, I’ve made a ton of new friends that I didn’t want or need. You don’t have a choice, though, they just kind of materialize around you. But it’s not a bad thing because they’re all really nice, and they’re supportive and positive, and they say things like, ‘Hell yeah!’ when you tell them you went for a run, and they send you text messages about races and shoe drops, and they’re always up to talk about all the supernaturally boring stuff that you find scintillating because you’re a runner.

There’s nothing boring about running.