Run for Joy. Work-out vs. work-in.

Run for Joy. Work-out vs. work-in.

The other day I had a magical, blissful run..

It was awesome, I put on my running gear first thing, I walked my little girl to her daycare up the road, and headed straight to the park after. I had rationalised with myself that I would only go halfway around, because I had lots of work to do, but when my legs got moving, I felt so good I decided to to the full 5 kms. I’ve been reading and listening to the gorgeous Danielle La Porte’s work on Core Desired Feelings, and I realised that day when I ran I felt freedom, ease, energy, and joy. When I decided not to turn back early I was choosing to run for joy.

When I play with Ruby, who is now nearly 21 months, she runs as often as she possibly can, for joy. Luckily we live across from a park so there’s lots of opportunities for running play. The playful, joyous freedom I see on her face, reminds me that we all can feel this way. I get that feeling running and playing with her too. Pure active joy.

So, what had lead to this run being so good for me?

  • I wasn’t tracking my distance or cals, or pushing for a record.
  • I was listening to some awesome new music.
  • I decided to run a bit, then see how I felt.
  • I went out with the intention to just move my body.
  • I left my phone at home.
  • I focused on the good feelings as I moved my body.
  • I framed it in my mind as special time just for me.
  • I was well and had a good nights sleep.
  • I was feeling good in my body and wasn’t running to lose weight.
  • I was focused on my joy and repeating my core desired feelings in my head like a mantra.
  • I was outside in nature.


Not all my runs are blissful though.

Some days they’re a drag, I’m tired and my legs feel like lead. I’ve realised that on those days, instead of pushing, pushing, pushing, I’m better off working-in, doing some more restorative activity like yoga or meditation, while my energy is low.

What’s a work-in?

We’re all familiar with a work-out, expending energy, huffing and puffing raising the heart-rate and sweating.  A work-in, draws in energy instead of expending it, it is more gentle, slower, even still, and gives you an all day glow of good feeling. A work-in puts your body into a state of rest and relaxation. It activates your parasympathetic nervous system for repair and regeneration. Meditation, some types of yoga, deep breathing are all examples of a work-in.


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Freedom to choose to move to feel good.

Focusing on how you want to feel gives you more freedom to choose the activity that will make you feel good in that moment, on that day. Some days you need to sweat and expel excess energy, somedays you need to soak it up. Most days I love a good weights session or HIIT group circuit, and I also love yoga, running, swimming & meditation. Some days I do both. (Wow! then I even impress myself) In fact, I definitely feel best when I’ve done a work-out and a work-in. What do you love? For me, Hatha Yoga is my working-in, giving back to my body when I’ve been burning the candle at both ends and need to refill my cup. (to mix a metaphor)  What is your favourite work-out? What is your favourite work-in?

Need some new shoes?

Share your story of the last time you ran for joy, (maybe all the way back when you were a kid) or share what your favourite work-out and work-in and you could win a $30 voucher towards your next pair of running shoes. Comment below and the most inspiring story will win.

(Winner will be chosen at my discretion, no discussion will be entered into)

Comments (14)

  1. When I work out I generally do pump or RPM. You work hard and get a nice rush after plus little twinges (ok so a bit sore and walking like a Tin Man initially) the next day which remind you of the work out you did. The music is cool too.
    I also do Zumba for the pure fun factor and the Latino music. Our instructor is a hoot. Most of us are a bit unco at some point but we don’t care.
    When I work in I generally go to Yoga. I have just gotten back into Pilates too and really like that. I still worry that the little ball (like a mini semi-deflated Swiss ball) is going to pop or take off around the room when we balance on it with our knee. It hasn’t happened yet though!

    • Those balls are tough Fiona! Love the variety in your workouts! Yes making it fun makes a huge difference.

  2. Great article Kylie. And I have been checking out La Porte's work as well – so important to choose how you want to feel and then do the stuff that makes you feel like that. I remember one memorable run, when I was living in Tasmania. I was with a couple of army buddies at the time and we went to Wineglass Bay. Such a gorgeous location. We started walking, then running and then totally racing each other. But it was so much fun to play around with the other guys and push each other on. It still makes me smile to think of us tearing along these gorgeous tracks, and running like the crazy men we were. 😉

  3. Thank you for sharing Kylie! I've started running too – and I have to say after the burn it feels good – burns through the cortisol and out comes those happy endorphins! Great post!

  4. This morning actually!! I decided that my normal walks were just not cutting it. So I thought I needed to step it up a notch and decided to walk the other way, which has a big hill. I thought, this hill doesn’t scare me, I am going to walk up it. Now this hill is steep. You stand at the bottom and it is straight up, no resting place half way up, no flat parts. Cars have to change down gears half way up!! Well I am proud to say not only did I walk up and back down, I turned around and did it again!! And loved it. Scarily enough I also love the pain I am feeling in my glutes as that is exactly where I want to tone. So every time if bend and it hurts I smile, cause I know that I am a little bit skinnier there!!!!

    • Wow Sharyn, awesome work. Yes, love the burn too! It’s proof that you did good work and your body is recovering.

      • Hey Sharyn, you’re the winner of my $30 voucher comp for new shoes!! Congratulations gorgeous. I’ll email you the voucher code now. xx

  5. The last time I ran for joy was in October the day before I had a laparoscopy. I ran with my music turned up & felt pure joy. I was appreciating my body’s ability to run. I felt so grateful & strong. I can’t wait to get back into running albeit slowly just waiting on the all clear.

    • thanks for sharing Jody! Isn’t it cool how music can turn a run into a magical moment! Love and light for your healing..

  6. I have been able to run long distances, I train for sprinting something that would be soo much easier if I lost weight.
    I have always wanted to swim better stronger and for longer distances so a friend made some programs for me that I am loving they are suppose to be around 45-50 mins long, the first few times took 80mins and now I'm down to 65mins.
    About 2 weeks after starting my swimming I thought I'd have a go at a longer run, my plan was to run one song walk the next , after the first song another song came on that I loved so I kept running after that one I realised I felt great so kept running when I had got about halfway I suddenly thought I can do this I can make it all the way home I feel so fit !
    I actually ran 5 km I've never ran that far ever all day I was on cloud nine I was so proud of myself.

  7. i can imagine it now Carl! Love it.

  8. So happy you're into running now too Alice, with Team Dragon Hammer to inspire you how could you not run? xxx Can't wait to see you soon. x

  9. That friend who gave you those swimming workouts sounds like a Supercoach! I want to meet him!

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