If you run much, you get a lot of interesting questions and statements about it.
“Man, I don’t think I could run a mile!”
“Dude, I don’t even drive that far!”
“The only time you’ll see me running is if getting away from a bear…”
That, plus many in the medical field — and even more outside of it — saying it’s bad for your knees. Personally, that last opinion is hogwash for most people, but that’s another topic for another day. The fact is, most people don’t like to run because it’s hard, it’s not as glitzy as other activities, or whatever.
Yup, running is not for everyone, and that included me up until about five years ago. But I took it up as a newer, cheaper form of fitness and I’ve learned a few things along the way. So here’s my list of why I run…
It’s good for me. Whether I’m doing a long, steady run, or plowing up hills, or burning up the track, running is good for my body. It burns calories, improves cardiovascular health and leaves me, physically speaking, better off. I stay leaner and healthier if I’m faithful to running at least four times a week. I also get sick less often and, believe it or not, improve athletic performance in other areas. The post-run endorphin rush perks up my day. In short, I’m a healthier person because of running.
It clears my head. Whether I’m getting in a quick two miles or forging ahead for twenty, running has a way of shutting down the noise of the outside world and bringing peace to my spirit. The routine of it is meditative. Many people pray while they run, or find some other form of calming themselves by focusing on the task at hand. There are plenty of distractions, devices and crises that will leave most people frazzled and tired. The antidote is some alone time on the run. Trust me on that one.
It gets me outside. I love being in the outside air. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot, cold, windy, cloudy, sunny or whatever. Aside from the occasional treadmill workout, all my runs are outside. I get to know my neighborhood, my city, and my trails by lacing up and heading down the path, not by staring at the TV, my phone or otherwise planted on the couch.
Because I can. There are people who, because of their health, or injuries, or whatever, cannot run. But I’m able-bodied. I run long because I can. I run big hills because I can. I run fast (sometimes, sort of) because I can. And if I find myself lacking in any of these areas, I keep running until I can do it. I’ve been given one body and one life, so if there are things I can do that are awesome but choose not to, what a waste that would be. Carpe diem, right?
Its opens a new world. I’ve met awesome people through running. I’ve experienced the excitement of a race, the newness of a trail, and the secret spots of my city that I’d have missed if I only saw them through the window of a car. My world would be a lot smaller and far less rich had I not become a runner.
Why do you run? I’d love to hear it in the comments.