I HATED Running the Mile in Gym Class (Hate Isn’t a Strong Enough Word)

Last night during my run (3.5 miles) I thought about the reasons why I think I’m well suited to the sport.

Mainly I think it’s because I’m great at telling myself stories. I can easily occupy myself with stupid jokes, daydreams and plans for the future as I run along any course (or even on the treadmill). During long runs I sometimes get so wrapped up in my head I temporarily forget that I’m even running – which definitely helps the miles tick by.


I’ve always been this way.

I love my friends and family, but I really value personal time.

There have been periods in my life where spending so much time inside my head has been bad for me, but these days it’s a really healthy place to be.

I only wish I had found running earlier in life.

I don’t mean to place all the blame on my gym teachers in elementary school, but I do feel that they went about teaching the sport of running in a really poor way. 


I remember we basically all just walked out to the track and were told to run a mile – “just” 4 laps around the track. And, despite the fact that gym class was held at 1pm which is an incredibly hot time in Florida, we all had to wait to get water as a group after everyone finished.

After the last person wrapped up the mile, we all formed a single file line in front of the water fountain and each took about 10 seconds worth of a sip. Definitely not enough to replenish all the fluids lost during a run at the hottest part of the day under a relentless sun.

I hated running that stupid one mile. 

No one told me that I shouldn’t go all out. That it’s good to warm up, start slow and then ease into a comfortable pace.

I thought running was about going as fast as you could, and when I could only make it half way around the track loop before losing my breath I became incredibly frustrated.


I never got better because no one told me what I was doing wrong or how to improve. We just mindlessly filed out to the track to run a mile. Each child used whatever knowledge (or lack there of) he or she had to get the job done.

There was no teaching involved.

I was slow, I walked a lot and I was sweating too much. 

When I decided I wanted to play a team sport I tried out for (and made) the volleyball team because it involved the least amount of running.

If my gym teacher had taken the time to teach us the fundamentals of running, maybe I would have discovered a passion for it earlier in life.

I mean, when we learned to play soccer or tennis in gym class we were taught the basics, why not with running?

I get that running is something that your body knows how to do, but it’s really not so easy as just lacing up and going. Not if you want to enjoy the run as a beginner anyway.

Did you enjoy running the mile in elementary, middle or high school? 

At what age did you start enjoy running?



  1. Karla Bruning
    September 25, 2013 / 3:21 pm

    I’m a major day dreamer too! Also one of the reasons I love running and was a swimmer as a child and teen–lots of time to spend alone in my head. I loved running as a kid, but largely because we had “dry land” practice on swim team where we actually learned (gasp) about running, weights, etc. I think if I’d had an experience like yours I’d have hated it too. In grade school I had dreams of joining the track team when I reached high school, but by then I started having knee problems (that turned out to be a bone tumor) that made running really painful. In high school I either always walked the mile or got to do an equivalent test in the pool. It wasn’t until my mid-20s that I was finally able to start running again. So glad you’ve discovered it after all!

  2. October 3, 2013 / 1:19 pm

    I have the same gym class memory. Not quite as vivid since for some reason I can only remember that torture from elementary school. I must have blacked out the older years. I didn’t start running until I was 28. I’m now getting ready to run my 10th marathon!

    • October 3, 2013 / 4:45 pm

      WOW that is awesome!!! I am checking out your blog now for marathon inspiration! 🙂

      I think gym class ruins running for a lot of people. I just don’t understand why they don’t go over some fundamentals before sending us out onto the track.

  3. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running
    October 3, 2013 / 10:31 pm

    I think if the mile run in gym class were built up to – if the PE teachers knew that running wasn’t all-or-nothing – lots more kids would love it. I hated it, too. I used to be a great self-story-teller, but ‘real life’ and work has sapped that creativity from me a bit. It sucks. I think I’ll need to get it back!!

  4. February 12, 2016 / 2:51 pm

    Who doesn’t hate running the mile?