Yesterday was one of those days where I became easily frustrated. Things just weren’t going in my favor (and by the way… so sorry to those of you who clicked over to the blog when it was down for a couple of hours!) and there came a point where I knew I needed to go for a walk, or better yet a run to let off some steam.
Running has always been a mental release for me. I only started running for distance and time a couple of years ago, and am so thankful to have a passion for it.
I know not everyone does, and also realize that some people actually despise it. You couldn’t pay them to do it. I get that, and totally respect it, as that is how skydiving is for me. Been there, done that, never again.
But, to those of you who haven’t really given the sport of running a fair try, I wanted to at least share my top ten reasons of why I run and what it does for me and my life.
Who knows… maybe this will give you a nudge to pick it up!
Ten Reasons Why (I Think) You Should Start Running
• to stay heatlhy, fit and get in cardio
This answer couldn’t have been more obvious, which is exactly why I kicked things off here.
You are probably already aware that running is an intense athletic activity that involves most of the major muscle groups in your body. It also does wonders for your heart health, oxygen flow, and is great for conditioning.
As much as I enjoy taking a Zumba, spinning, or kickboxing class for a cardiovascular workout, I never feel as accomplished as I do after a long run or even a short sprint. In my opinion, running – no matter the distance – takes the most effort level to get through.
• for a mental release
As I mentioned above, running has always been a huge mental release for me. Some people turn to crafting or taking yoga classes, and my escape from reality has always been to go out for a run.
I can’t even count the amount of times I have laced up my sneakers after getting bad news or arguing with a loved one. As I mentioned back on National Running Day, I run because… it’s cheaper than therapy.
No but really. I choose how rapid or slow of a pace to take and just go for it. I’ll run until I feel better or until I just don’t feel like doing it any more.
There have been times where I go out for a run fuming (without Roadie, since I am unsure of the distance) and come back eight miles later, completely calm. I can’t explain it other than running is ME time and gives me the space I need to gather my thoughts and reflect.
It’s a wonderful thing.
• to explore surroundings
Whenever I travel, I usually plan to get in at least one five or so mile run close to the beginning of the trip to scope out the area. If it feels safe, of course.
It isn’t unusual for me to ask hotel staff for a suggested running loop and I love running the must-see areas of new cities.
• to get outside, see trails and enjoy nature
When we first moved up to Michigan, I absolutely fell in love with running again. Unlike Florida, the weather is tolerable (eh… in the summer, spring and fall at least) and is usually chilly enough to enjoy the activity without feeling overheated.
Plus, there are so many trails and paths through rivers with views like this!
I could ride my bike through the same loop, but there is something extra alluring about exploring these types of areas on foot. Although I could walk them, running gets me at least twice as far, faster. I love it.
• work off sweets and cheat days
Let’s be real here. Half of the time, I run so I can eat all the desserts and feel okay about it. And pizza. And everything having to do with Thanksgiving.
It may sound crazy, but I know I am not alone here. After the week of my birthday (which always includes numerous desserts and drinks to celebrate) or a holiday weekend, I always go for a good two or three runs in the days following, and it takes those runs to start feeling like my normal self again.
On a regular basis, however, I believe in enjoying everything in moderation, which (to me) includes desserts. This also includes exercising and cardio workouts several times a week.
(see the details of this workout!)
Running is always a great buffer to get me motivated and back to my normal eating and workout routine whenever I temporarily hop off of it.
• for a reason (charity)
There are so many charities and organizations to run or even walk for. I am running my second half marathon two months from now with the Hope Water Project, and have a feeling this will be a yearly occurrence as long as we live here.
I would love to participate in more races to fundraise for charities and think it’s such a great outlet to spread the word for a good cause!
• goal setting
The thought of running thirteen or even five miles used to really intimidate me. But, I took my training one week and mile at a time and slowly built my distance up.
Crossing the finish line at my first half over two years ago made me feel on top of the world.
I reached my goals and felt like I could do anything!
• to experience the feeling of a runner’s high
It may sounds silly, but I feel like a total bad*** when I come in from a run with a new distance or pace record.
Some runs are okay, some are horrible, but every once in a while you will have that run that makes you feel incredible. Like you are unstoppable!
A true runner’s high.
(Roadie gets them too!)
• free pass to listen to music and playlists
It’s no secret that I am a bit of a music freak. Every time I share a playlist on the blog, I also mention that music is a huge love of mine and that I almost always have it playing in the background of anything I do.
As soon as I put a new workout playlist together, I can’t wait to go out for a run. I play the same songs when I do workouts at the gym or at home, but when I go for a run, I don’t have to think of anything.
My mind is free to wander wherever my run takes me and usually my mood is set by my playlist selection.
Sometimes it’s a workout playlist, but other times it’s very chill. I put on a full set of cool down tracks and listen to the lyrics. I don’t have to count reps or look at a paper with my workout drawn out, and simply exist in and enjoy the moment.
• YOU time
I mentioned this in a previous reason, but really think it deserves a point all on it’s own. Running time is ME time.
Earbuds in, running shoes on, I am free to go wherever, whenever and have time to myself. For the duration of my run, I think, but I also escape from worries and take in everything you just read above.
I couldn’t imagine functioning in life without that time.
So those are just ten of my reasons. I’m sure there are many more!
But now I would like to know…
Why do you run?
Why don’t you run?
Elsie Goycoolea (@elsiegz)
I have been running for 5 months now….I started wirh short distances and very quickly loved it…however…I believe I started running too much and hated it very soon…I took some time off and now I am back at it..I think i found my balance by only running 2 times a week for longer distances..and those have become my favourite days…I definitely feel the runner’s high and it gives me some time to think and appreciate what my body can do!
You can definitely tire yourself out from running so much. I’ve been there too. Glad to hear you’ve found a balance! 🙂
I’m just starting to run. Another reason I would add to your list is that it’s easy to do pretty much anywhere. I’m going camping soon and planning to run. With no access to the gym, it’s an inexpensive and accessible form of exercise.
I was going to sneak in a #11… it’s free to do at home! But I didn’t. I love that you can do it anywhere!
Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries
LOVE all of your reasons! I couldn’t agree more with you. I haven’t been running much lately because it’s been so darn HOT here, but I’m looking forward to putting back on my running shoes in the next few months when the weather gets to be beautiful here in AZ. I go in phases with running, but I always come back to it again and love it. I actually used to despise it several years ago, but I gained a whole new appreciation for it when we moved to Utah. It helped me through some tough times and I loved exploring outside and taking in the gorgeous views. Running here in the desert isn’t quite as beautiful (in my opinion), but I’ll always be able to find some beauty in it. That “me time” is a huge one for me too, especially since becoming a mom. Running with friends is fun, but sometimes I just love that alone time to do some thinking.
I remember those unbearably HOT summer days in Florida. Running was almost impossible without heatstroke. Hopefully the fall enables you to get back out there! Oh, running without a doubt keeps me sane. I’m sure as a mother you appreciate that “me” time more than ever!
Great post! I really only run when I’m getting back into working out after a hiatus (I find that running gets me in shape quickest…and then I ditch it). I don’t run TOO often because of concern for my joints/bones etc.
As a side note, your comment about “me time” made me think that it would be really cool to see a post from you about how you get your “me time” and whether that helps in your relationship (I know it does for me!). I always appreciate how honest and down to earth you seem, and I really like that your blog doesn’t paint everything as constantly being rainbows and sunshine. You’re definitely relatable because of it.
Thanks for the suggestion! I just might have to whip something up on the subject. Also, thank you for reading! xo
I love to run! Unfortunately, I’ve been dealing with a wonderful injury most of this year; however, I see the light and its been getting better. Running is a stress reliever and an overall joy!
Aw, injuries are the worst. When I’m deep into training, my knees and shins start to feel it. It’s hard to want to run! All you can do is take a break and recover so you can run again in the future!
“running – no matter the distance – takes the most effort level to get through” – I think that’s the primary reason I don’t run! My lungs and legs start to burn, and I just don’t enjoy it. That being said, a few years ago, I started a run/walk program that was really easy starting out (jogging/running for 15 seconds & walking a minute), but I stuck with it for several months, built up my running time and was at my lowest weight. Now I’m at my heaviest weight, so maybe I should take it up again…You’ve almost convinced me 🙂
Ha, aw… sorry so scare you of so quickly! Honestly, training for races and running long distances has really helped me get back to what I feel to be my “normal” if I ever deviate off of it for an extended period of time. It’s amazing how fast the extra fluff goes with the miles and right eating plan!
I completely agree with ya on the sweets Chica. I love the feeling of achievement I get after a long run. After every run I am reminded of just how incredible my body is. Sometimes I say to myself, “wow I just carried my body X amount of miles. That’s pretty dang awesome!”
It truly amazes me! Love, love, love that feeling!
Her Happy Balance
I run to challenge myself. It is not a form of exercise that came naturally to me, so I feel so accomplished when I see myself improve. And I figure, if I can run X amount of miles, I can survive X situation.
I think the same thing. If I hit a life challenge, I try to tell myself… “if I can run a half marathon, I can do this.” 😉
Rachel @ Blonde with a Chanse
All of these reasons are seriously so awesome! I love running for several of these reasons, and I love that it is something that I can do just for me 🙂
I first ran with music. Now I run without. This way it’s way easier for me to let go my thoughts. I love thinking about my day, my life, my goals, my relationships and so on. I love the fresh air, I even love running while it’s raining.
Last Sunday I finished my first race (10k) and it was so great! I’m looking for the next race now 😀
Unfortunately I struggle with my knee. That’s way I don’t run at the moment, I do only some power walking instead until the pain is gone. But I miss running so much. Now that I finished the 10k race I have so much more goals. 15k or a half next year (maybe!) for example.
How much running shoes do you have?
I love running with music, but every once in a while I will run without it. It’s refreshing! Congrats on your first race! Currently, I rotate about 3 or 4 pairs of running shoes. I grab a certain pair depending on how long of a distance I’m going for. If it’s anything under 4 miles, I’ll grab any running shoe I have around to save my Mizuno Enigma Wave 2’s with insoles for my long distances! Rotating running shoes saves their lifeline and wear so much!
Emma @ Life's A Runner
I love this post! There’s nothing better than a run to make you feel better than you ever thought you could. I just ran for the first time without music a couple of days ago (my iPod totally freaked out 2 seconds in) and it was so much more relaxing than I thought it would be! I actually cleared my thoughts much more easily than with music.