Reward Based Running

First, a confession. Today I had oatmeal for breakfast.

It was totally everything I hoped and dreamed it would be.

Anyway, my chosen workout today was a 4 mile trail run. I generally don’t like to do my “long” runs the day after lifting, but being tomorrow is the start of spring gobbler season, I don’t want to be running around in the woods while folks are trying to hunt. Especially opening day. So I set off for my wilderness release this morning, the weather was gorgeous, my legs felt surprisingly fresh, and I got my 4 miles in in under 50 minutes, and considering the terrain, I’m totally cool with that.

Trail running is one of the most liberating activities I’ve ever practiced. It requires full body mindfulness, no plugging in the headphones and just pounding away at pavement, no zoning off, you have to be in tune with your surroundings at all times.

This is good for me because I’m a lazy ass rewards motivated person. I don’t like to get out of bed in the morning unless I’m getting paid, be it in cash, accomplishment, or opportunity. I will admit, road running and hitting a PR is fun and all, but it is nothing like the “payment” I get when I’m running a trail.

I am motivated by interesting sights like big fucking rocks (or Pennsylvania sex stones, as we call them):


and small bubbling brooks:


I would rather climb giant hills to witness this, than say stick to the flat road and see drug deals on the street corner.

I am motivated by the fear and excitement elicited by being in an environment shared by animals that could actually kill me if they wanted to. I would rather outrun a bear than that homeless guy who follows me around on his bicycle and asks me for cigarettes.


I like that I can trudge up a mountain slowly knowing I’m saving my strength for an instance where I might actually need it, and to regain speed I can sprint across lakes and float down hills.


I like that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and if that means getting knee deep in a mud puddle, so be it.

It’s fun, it’s cathartic, and the stumps, stones, and sounds are all a constant reminder to take it one step at a time, slow down when you need to, and go fast when you feel it.

I’m definitely inspired by my new undertaking and the rewards I’ve been reaping from it, be it in awesome photo ops, newfound confidence in my strength and abilities, and something that meshes amazingly with my love to lift and gives me my coveted “outdoor time” that protects my sanity.