why i run

04 03 2014.

Why I Run - Spice & Dice

Two years ago if you had asked me what I like to do, running would have been far from the top of the list. For the most part anything that involved exercise was “work” and not “fun.”

I stumbled across a series of videos by Dick’s Sporting Goods that highlighted why people run. I shared them with my mom and it sparked a conversation about why we run. I had to think about it. Why do I run?

After almost two weeks of working on this, I’ve finally reached a list that I’m proud of and holds true. These are my reasons for running.

It’s a huge stress reliever.
This is probably one of the most common reasons why people run. It’s a great way to vent my negative energy, by turning it into positive feel-good endorphins. I always feel great after a run – no matter the distance. Even after a bad run, I still feel proud that I ran. It’s a great time to work through problems – I have no distractions, just me and my mind. Sometimes during a run things seem so clear. A problem that seemed hard to solve becomes entirely solvable. It’s a great, healthy form of therapy.

It’s a wonderful form of exercise.
I’m just going to say it. Running helped me lose 10 pounds. Though I’m now at a weight I’d like to maintain, I run to stay in shape and to keep my weight healthy. I’m proud of being fit. I aim to be able to tackle any (within reason) physical challenge that comes my way. There’s something so satisfying knowing that I’m independent and self-sufficient on a bodily level.

Running is a challenge.
Running is hard. Sure, I’ve had runs that are more difficult than normal and ones that are easier than normal, but unless I’m really not trying, I’ve never had an easy run. There aren’t many things in my daily life that challenge me the way running does. Running mixes up the monotony and predictability of the adult working world and allows me to feel accomplished at the end of the day.

It’s something that I can always work to improve upon.
That may sound discouraging at first but when I really think about it, it’s an activity that I can always work on. Even if I complete a goal (run a sub-7:30 mile, run 5 days a week, explore a new area) there can always be a next goal. I will never be the best that I can be at running and it’s reassuring to know that. I love improving. I love reaching goals. I love a project with many milestones. Running seems just right for that.

Running is motivating.
There’s something about going out and doing a run that gets me really jazzed up. I find myself planning events and committing to things like future races. Running can be hard – but once I’m out there, other things seem easier. It’s a great mental space to be in because I can daydream without limits.

I understand something that a lot of the world won’t get to (or is unwilling to) experience.
A lot of runners are agitated by the criticisms and insults they receive from non-runners. At first, I was too. I wanted all of my friends to understand how important running was to me, to stop questioning it, and to be supportive. A good run can be magical. It can change a horrible day into an amazing one. It has brought me to new places. It can push me to do new things. To challenge myself. I understand pain and how to push through. I am strong and powerful. These are things that non-runners don’t get to experience: they’re reserved just for us runners.