As a play facilitator in Australia and the only one to incorporate Positive Psychology directly into my workshops, I tend to look for playful ways of doing things that I don’t enjoy. I can become disengaged and bored way too easily and certainly have aspects of ADHD- I didn’t have it as a kid, it wasn’t invented back then.
I never enjoyed running. I loved LOOKING fit and healthy though. When I considered the army as a possible career I knew I would have to run, a lot. The long and short of it was that I created mind games. Ways to enjoy or endure running. I would set mini goals and play ‘annihilation games’ in my head saying things like ‘Just make it to the next lamppost or the world will blow up’, ‘ If your (my) feet don’t keep moving during this next hour then the soles of your shoes will melt and you’ll forfeit them and have to run barefoot AND then you have to run faster or your feet will melt off-( I still play that one.)
I might also play games with a more positive spin but generally they had a dark bent. I punished myself by running with backpacks and I also ran with water packs that had ‘special’ life giving fluid – water with a drop of cordial in it-that I was only allowed so many sips of. These games and some of the punishments I inflicted on myself made running just that little bit more interesting and sometimes fun. “3 more lampposts and I get to save the world but If I pass 5 more, I get the girl too.’
Runners don’t tend to share their running games- though I’d love to hear other peoples’ and so I was thrilled to read the January 2016 Runners World Au, NZ edition and the article…
Play Fast and Loose
In the article, Sam Murphy extols the virtue of Play with exercise…he gets it and his article is well worth a read!
Playing with my boundaries, with my self inflicted punishments and my imaginary goals was just one way I stopped loathing and I do mean LOATHING running and began to enjoy it. Play is a great way to access the will to do the stuff we don’t want to.
There is a wave of Play coming. Runners already combine their sport and add obstacles, colour, bubbles, lights and zombies!
Kids will play ‘tag’ and other games for hours- try getting them to run in lines for as long?
It isn’t just running though.
We practice what we prefer and become proficient in it- when we enjoy ‘it’ for its own sake we want to do more of it. Introducing more playful encounters into our learning creates a desire for more of those learning encounters.
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Let’s turn the wave of play into a Tsunami!