Running… it can make your lungs burn and muscles ache, it causes countless blisters, bloody chaffing, and black toe nails. Then why do we run? I have heard this question countless times. While running may be punishment for some, for others it opens up a whole new way of living. To be able to move our bodies through good times and bad is a blessing. It can heal the mind and body and bring so much goodness to your life. Here are some reasons for “Why We Run.”
1. It’s mind cleansing– After a while running isn’t so labor intensive and you are able to go out at a comfortable, conversational pace without gasping for air. When this happens, you get into a groove, you start focusing on your breath and your foot strike, and it becomes a moving meditation. You are able to let go of worries, thoughts, and concerns. Have you ever tried a sitting meditation? Most of us runners are able to sit for about 45 seconds before we can’t take it anymore. Running allows you to let go of thoughts without much effort. (I know that seems odd, because the act of running takes effort, but for many, not thinking is more difficult than moving our bodies).
2. Time for ourselves– In a world where we are constantly surrounded by people, running allows us quiet time by ourselves, free of chatter or having to serve someone else. It is where we recharge our souls.
3. Time with friends– Running allows us time to connect with fellow runners. We share a passion. Whether you’re young, old, large, medium or small, we understand one another, we’re a tribe. Something happens when you go out running together. For some reason, everyone opens themselves up like a book. No one judges, and what is talked about on a run stays on that run.. you’re safe.
4. It’s free and it’s outside– Other than a pair of shoes, running is free. You don’t need to drive anywhere if you don’t want to and it’s outside where we belong (we spend our lives indoors and that sucks the spirit out of us). We weren’t designed to be enclosed.
5. It teaches us to keep moving forward– Running teaches you how to keep moving forwardd, especially in the most painful moments. Life can be difficult and uncomfortable, running helps us realize that it’s just discomfort, it won’t kill you and eventually it will be over. You learn how to hang on.
6. Delayed Gratification – Everything about our sport takes time. You don’t get faster overnight, it takes commitment and sacrifice. You learn that the little thingss you do every day add up to big successes. You begin to use that lesson in other areas of your life. You apply it to your diet, your parenting, your relationships, your job.
7. It makes you feel good inside and out– Running produces an endorphin rush. I’ve heard it said you have to run over an hour to get the rush, but I’ve experienced it on runs as short as a half hour. Who doesn’t love a free, all natural drug delivered straight from heaven? It also has another great side
8. It helps you to get your priorities straight– Many times in our lives we make excuses. “Well, I can’t run because it’s raining, or I don’t have time, I need to clean my house, volunteer at the school, my job is very demanding.” All excuses! What you’re really saying is that it’s not a priority. If it means something to you, which it should because it’s something you do for yourself, than you find a way. Wake up early, leave your house messy for a few days, or run at night after your kids go to bed. In the words of Diana Nyad “Find a way”.
9. It’s good for your self esteem – Anyone can run. Running is not about being the fastest or the greatest. Whether you run a mile in 5 minutes or 15, getting across the finish line and completing your run is a huge achievement and it feels good! Races are not necessary, but can be a lot of fun. They bring camaraderie, and great memory makers.
10. For a cause– Many times we have no idea how to help a family member or friend in need. When a loved one is in pain or suffering, doing something difficult in their honor eases our pain and helps them at the same time.
11. It’s very healing-If you are in any kind of emotional pain, it helps. When you’re out on a run all by yourself, you are free to cry and no one will see (many times running brings this on naturally). If you are carrying a lot of anger, running is a place for you to get really angry free of judgement. If you’re a recovering food, drug, alcohol or shopping addict, it will help you get through those times of weakness. Running heals, I don’t know how or why, but it does.
12. Resilience– Runners are used to failing. Oftentimes we don’t meet our goals, have a bad run, or get injured. We’re used to failing and we learn to pick ourselves up and keep trying.
Why do you run?
What’s stopping you?