|A photo of myself running that I actually like; from 2012 Fox Valley Marathon (photo credit to Dave Mari)|
1. I like running because it’s exercise that is not boring. That is, if done outdoors. I always find running inside on a treadmill to be boring. All of those cardio machines in the gym are boring because the scenery never changes. I was always discouraged by this part of the gym. But when I started training for my first marathon, I was running with a group outside in Washington DC. Our long runs always included the National Mall, and then as our mileage grew, they included the Potomac waterfront, and then some pretty trails. My shorter weekday runs were almost always on the same bike trails in my neighborhood, so I got to know them well, and they, too, were less boring than the treadmill. I do not really like cycling or other cardio sports, so running it is, but always outside.
2. I like running because I feel good about myself after a run. It doesn’t matter how far the run is. Unless I really underperform, I always feel better for having gone out for a run. It’s a sense of accomplishment that is sometimes difficult to remember when motivation is low, but the run always rewards with endorphins and positivity. And sometimes with sweat, and salt, and dirt, and trail injuries – but those things still make me feel good.
3. I like running because (almost) anyone can do it. OK, maybe not everyone can run a marathon today, but most people can put on a pair of running shoes and run or run/walk for at least a short distance. They might not be fast, and that’s OK. It takes no special skill to run; just put one foot in front of the other and go. It is not necessary to worry oneself over form or running mechanics when starting out. The main thing is just to go, and most people can – if they believe they can. And while it’s nice to have a running buddy sometimes, or to train with a group, that is completely optional. You just need yourself and a pair of shoes.
4. I like running because it allows me to set and achieve goals. And almost always those goals are to run a race. And lately, the goals have been simply to finish the race. With my low level of training and my heavy schedule of racing, that’s OK for now. But sometimes the goal has been to run a race under a certain time, or to chase a new PR. Other times I’ve had goals to run with other people, for various reasons. All goals are good if they make you feel good. The time will come very soon when my goals switch from quantity of races to quality of races. I’m looking forward to it.
5. I like running because it’s what my friends do. Over the past few years, most new friendships I have developed have been with other runners. I’ve met them through running clubs or on race courses. I even met my husband during a marathon. It’s fun and motivational to have friends who share your interest in running and traveling to races. I love to meet up with friends from around the world in different cities for marathons. Right now, I can name the people I’m looking forward to seeing at each of my upcoming races.
6. I like running because without it, I’d be a mess. I mentioned that I don’t really like other cardio activities. I don’t claim to be the picture of health and fitness these days, but I can only imagine how much worse I’d feel if I didn’t run. I could easily have phrased #6 as “I like running because of its health benefits”, and hopefully soon that’s how I’ll see things. There certainly are lots of wonderful health benefits. Right now, I’m just happy that running is keeping me going at my minimal level of fitness.
Question: Why do you like running?