Everyone’s running story is different. Mine is certainly not a story of love at first sight! In fact, back in school, I hated the very idea of it and found every excuse not to do it. I only remember this vaguely but my mum once reminded me that I asked her to write a sick note to get me out of running. When I finally decided to start running at 36, it was because I’d reached a point where I’d become very uncomfortable with being so unfit and unhealthy. I didn’t like this version of myself. And so I started… but even then, I did it as a chore that should be done and not because I had any love for it. I just saw running as a way I could get fitter and lose weight. But over time, things changed. First, it was more of an appreciation for running, and slowly this progressed to love. It being Valentine’s Day today, I thought I’d share FIVE reasons I love running.
1/ Running Keeps You Fit And Healthy: Before I started running, I’d come home from work where I’d been sitting for 8 hours and then sit on the couch. I was a very present mum but I limited activities to things that didn’t require much movement – reading story books, playing board games, building puzzles. If my husband suggested going for a walk, it just seemed like too much work. Running has given me so much more energy. Even when I’m not training for a race, just running 2 or 3 times a week leaves me invigorated! I used to get the worst migraines and I’d grown to accept them as my reality. I don’t know if this is a mere coincidence, but since I started running, I hardly complain about headaches and certainly not migraines.
2/ Running Builds Your Confidence. There is so much research linking running to positive mental health – be it dealing with depression, anxiety, mood changes or lack of self-esteem, etc. Personally, I’ve found that running has built my confidence. When I started running, I became more comfortable in my own body – I didn’t care about the size of my arms which I’d always been self-conscious about. On a deeper level, I found I could be myself in new settings – whether it was a work environment or a social setting. When I’m out running, it’s so much easier for me to process difficult thoughts and to find solutions to what I thought were insurmountable problems. As a result, I feel stronger and more resilient to push through tough challenges.
3/ Running Has An Awesome Community. I have connected with so many people here at home and around the world. There are many I’ve never met but they inspire, support and encourage me on days I’m struggling. And I try to do the same for them. The running community doesn’t care what level you’re at, whether your pace is 5min/km or 10min/km. This camaraderie extends to races where you can be on the brink of giving up and a stranger will sacrifice their own goals to help you persevere and reach the Finish. When I ran my sub-60min 10K, I did it because of the people who were there that day as well as those who were cheering from afar.
4/ Running Teaches You. A reader once commented that although she doesn’t run she reads my blog because of all the life lessons she gathers. This inspired a post I did last year about running being a metaphor for life. Running comes with good and bad runs, great achievements and crushing disappointments. Similar to life. But all these experiences help to shape and mould us. Just as we celebrate our happy moments, we have to embrace those times that test us. We fall, we learn, we grow and we keep moving forward. My greatest lesson from running is probably that we are always so much stronger than we think we are.
5/ You Get To Explore. Above and beyond all these benefits of running, what I love most is exploring new places – noticing the small but significant features that define a place, sensing its spirit, pulse and culture, observing people in their natural space, and for a moment, feeling like there is no other place I belong, than pounding the pavement, breathing in deeply and taking it all in – the sights, the sounds, the smells. Running gets you out of the house and your comfort zone. The more you run, the more likely you are to want to discover new places. This includes discovering your own neighbourhood, seeing new parts of your town, appreciating different seasons, or going on a trail you didn’t even know existed in your city. And it also includes discovering different towns and villages in your country and beyond the borders.
I could go on and on about why I love running – but I’ll stop here! I’m so grateful for the gift of running. I’m a fitter and stronger individual, both physically and mentally. Running has taught me so much about life and myself. It has also given me the courage, fearlessness and determination to actively explore different places and to truly see all that is around me.
Tell me, why do you love running? What has running taught you? What has running given you?
I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. I’m also joining the Runner’s Roundup with Mile By Mile, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running. Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.