When Does Endurance Training Get Fun?

I put my head down on the table at a friend's house. "What's wrong?" she asked.

"I rode 70 miles this morning. I'm beat," I replied.

"Oh," she said, "and that was fun for you?"

Well, some of it. The downhill parts, definitely. On the downhill parts I'm like the pig in those insurance commercials. Weeeeeee! But the uphill parts?

"Yeah, I like it. Pain and I are best buds. It's not fun unless it hurts...not that it hurts that bad."

Lies. Macho lies.

Endurance sports are not fun. Not in the traditional sense. Not like going to a movie, playing a video game, or eating ice cream. Endurance sports are hard. They hurt. Endurance sports are about suffering.

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So why do an endurance sport? Shouldn't a hobby be fun? Endurance sports require a great deal of time commitment and money.  

First, this isn't a hobby. Model rockets and stamp collecting are hobbies. This is a sport. Fun isn't the point of sport. Fun is the point of games, and as the T-shirts say, "No one plays triathlon." All this defining still doesn't answer the question, why do something that isn't fun and hurts in your free time? Why spend so much time and energy risking injury, and constantly walking funny up stairs, on something that isn't fun?

More: Find Fun in Every Run 

Endurance training should have elements of fun. Otherwise, you would burn out. Look at the ways to make endurance training more exciting.

Group Runs

Group training, running with friends, laughing through the pain and pretending it doesn't hurt makes training more fun. If you have a group of running friends, try the Last Man Sprits drill, also known as Indian Run. You run in a group, of four or more, in a single file line. The last person sprints to the front while the others call encouragement. Or, try a fartlek run. You and your running mates alternate the decision to run hard or to scale back. These two drills are great to mix your training up.

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Trail Runs

Trail running breaks up the monotony of the road. It's also a great way to get away from busy streets. The best part about trail running is you get to run through mud like you're a child again—squish.

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