"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” - Friedrich Nietzsche
Apparently Nietzsche got something right: overcoming challenges does make you stronger. Scientists and psychologists have conducted studies that prove austerity increases strength, and adaptability.
The race training process is a perfect example of how challenges push us to our limits, and ultimately make us tougher and durable.
But to any one who has run in any race, from a 5K to a Full Marathon already know this to be true,
Running is hard. Building up stamina and endurance is hard. Running 11 miles in February may not be the most fun activity. But what not all runners realize, is that the challenge actually improves the entire running experience. The higher the goal, the higher the reward. More so than that, without any difficulty, the running experience is less meaningful and a lot less enjoyable.
Think about a world where running is easy.
Imagine you step outside on a cool September afternoon to go for a jog around the block. You start running and feel great as you jet past your neighbors houses. Before you know it, you are half way out of the suburbs and your running app states a distance of three miles. You're slightly surprised as you have not run in ages and you do not even feel as though you have been struggling. Regardless, you take your luck and, quite literally, run with it. Making your way down busy streets, into the city and eventually all the way to the other side town, you realize you haven't even broken a sweat. Looking down at your smartwatch, and see "9 miles." Absolutely flabbergasted, you decide its best if you return home before it gets dark outside. As you glide up the front steps, you feel as though you could run another 15 miles.
Despite having just run almost a full marathon, you enter the house with no sign of having exercised at all. Walking into the kitchen, your wife asks you where you have been all afternoon. "I just went for a run," you say, glowing with pride of your incredible accomplishment "an 18 mile run actually." She looks back at you, laughs, and says, "so what? I ran 16 miles yesterday, and didn't even break a sweat." And just like that, your entire experience is broken. Thinking about it again, you realize there is not much of which you should be proud.
It was easy, too easy, anyone could do it. You are not even a little sore the next day, and have very little motivation to go out for a run again. You sit and ponder a more fun way to get your exercise in that day.