My mind was wandering while my daughter and I ran the second day of the fourth week of the Couch to 5K program. I was thinking about game mechanics, pain and running.
Exercise, like much of my life, has to be played like a game or I won’t do it. I set small attainable goals and celebrate every win. I was thinking about various other games I play all throughout my day. I work best in 25 minute sprints using the pomodoro technique. I challenge myself to see what I can get done in 25 minutes and I am rewarded with a break at the end. The game is amplified when other people are playing, as is the case in my office.
Pain is more easily managed inside a game. Pain comes in many varieties. I develop software and I manage a team of developers. This can be painful in the form of frustration or just in methodically working through a tough problem. Running brings along physical pain with it. The point of whatever game I am playing is usually involves a break from the pain.
Running, pain, games – all swimming around in my head. My daughter and I were in the midst of a run (the couch to 5K program has you alternate between running and walking). She started to fall behind me and slowed to a walk. I told her we only had about a minute of running left before we walked again. She said that she was done! I held out my hand to her and she picked up the pace a little. When she was close enough, I held my hand high in the universal “high five” sign. When her hand lightly brushed mine, I said, “Come on! High five!”. She hit my hand and not only did it make a satisfying SMACK, it tingled a little. That’s pain. And, that was all the motivation she needed. She sped past me and we completed our run.
There’s energy (both figuratively and literally) in the kind of pain I’m talking about. Go and give someone a good high five. Do it now. It should hurt a little.