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Find joy in the journey so you don't miss out!

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Find the fun and snap, the job’s a game!” - Mary Poppins

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The Magic of Mary Poppins

The Mary Poppins movie starring Julie Andrews was definitely a childhood favorite. It was also the first record I got that I played on my portable record player that played both 33s and 45s - yes I’m that old.

Even though I know the lyrics to all the songs and a lot of the dialogue from the movie, that lesson to "find the fun" didn’t really stick with me until much later in life.

Her Lesson Came to Life For Me As a Runner

I love running but I won’t sugarcoat it.

Running is hard! It can also be fun. Yet without intention, it can feel like a chore. If Mary Poppins isn’t going to come alongside you singing and cheering you on, you’ll have to find your own way to make it fun.

The belief that it won’t be fun until you get faster, have more experience, or some other mark you’re aiming for means you miss out on all the fun to be had along the way.

Those runner’s high moments or perfect races don’t come along nearly as often as the day-to-day work so why not find joy in the process?

Fun in running for me can look like, trying a new route, meeting up with running friends, signing up for and running a race, trying out some new gear, or running while traveling. When I used to listen to music while running it could also include new songs added to my running playlist.

Thankfully It's All Up To You

Years ago I set out on a run when it was what looked like miserable conditions. It was dark and the rain was coming down in buckets. The thoughts running through my mind weren't the most motivating to say the least.

Still I managed to get out the door and set out to run. Within 5 minutes I landed in a puddle that went up to my knees. I told myself that at least now I didn’t have to wonder how long my feet would remain dry.

I kept going. Maybe a mile or so later a car went by and hit one of those same kinds of puddles and the splash hit me about chest high. I started to laugh. Laughing and giggling when things are getting tough is a go-to for me. It seems a little crazy and for sure the driver of that car must have thought I was insane but it is so effective!

Laughing in spite of the current situation immediately lifts my mood and my brain actually embraces the idea that we are loving that very situation.

I have also been known during races to yell out things like, “Oh yay another hill! What, stairs? My favorite!” This gets a variety of responses from other racers. Some giggle and others give me their angriest vibes.

The thing is, it's up to me and every time I make that choice it immediately lifts my mood and energizes me.

One of my favorite marathoners Eliud Kipchoge uses this tactic when he’s running and setting yet another marathon pace record. You can watch him in the later part of a race when he certainly hurting (marathon racing always includes some level of pain) and see a smile come onto his face. He continues smiling all the way to the end.

The great thing about this tactic is that the brain doesn’t realize you’re tricking it into feeling better. It buys into it 100%. That doesn’t mean the discomfort goes away just that your brain is more on board with continuing. For him, it has the extra bonus of messing with his opponents because who can smile at a time like this?

So How Can You Make This Work For You?