I'm sure you've already heard all of the typical stuff: weight loss, cardiovascular health, stress relief, blah blah blah. If those things didn't motivate you to run before, they probably won't today. In honor of National Running Day, I thought I'd help you out by giving you an extra push with some non-typical reasons why you should start running.
1. Alone time
When I lived in Brooklyn, alone time was crazy hard to come by. My commute was an hour of being sardined between strangers each way on the subway. Then I got to work in an open-concept office where people just walk up to you and start saying things at you. And there's really no way to avoid eavesdropping on the people around you. Most nights my husband would get home before me and we usually had plans in the evening that involved getting back on the subway or swimming through crowds on the sidewalk. There just wasn't a chance for me to be alone with my thoughts. Enter running. Running became such an escape for me. I'd run two blocks to Prospect Park and then be in my zone. Yes, there were still people in the park, but for some reason, it was one of the few times that I felt like I had space just for me.
Now that I live in a small town outside of Boulder, CO, things have changed a bit. Running is still a time that I use to think and process through my day, but now I also love the community aspect. Everyone in Boulder (it seems like) is into some sort of sport or athletic activity, and there are a TON of runners. I love that I can meet new friends through running. I love that people use running as a venue for hanging out. And I love how nice and non bro-y the running community is. It's really inclusive and generally not focused on vain things.
3. Sense of Accomplishment
I'm never going to be a professional athlete (probably...), but with running, you don't have to be to reach goals and earn medals. I ran Bolder Boulder on Monday (recap coming soon), and hit my goal of staying under 47 minutes with a 46:19. It felt so incredibly good. When you run, you practice long-term goal setting a lot with deferred gratification. While you're training, you don't always feel great about it. Sometimes you're really tired. But when your race comes up and you nail it, gosh, it's all worth it. And you immediately want to set more goals. Now, I want to get into the "Sub 40 Club" at Bolder Boulder -- not sure if that'll be able to happen by next year's race, but I'm going to continue to push for improvement.
You know how sometimes people play video games as a means of escape? It gives them space to be good at something and win, even when they're in a season of life that feels like they're failing right and left. I think running can accomplish the same thing, and make you healthier along the way.
4. Excuse to Buy New Shoes
For all my shopaholic and shop therapy friends out there, this one's for you. Christy Hughes, I'm thinking of you. When you start training for a new race or on a new terrain, or when you just want to have a rotation of shoes so that the cushioning of your shoes can recover between runs, you get to go to the store and purchase new ones -- because you actually need them! Yay for mindful purchases :)
Currently, I have a bunch of shoes. I have 2 that I use for roads, 1 that I use for flat trails and the treadmill, 1 that I use for mountainy trails or rainy days, 1 that I use for the gym, and 1 old pair that I'm saving for if I ever want to do a mud run or something and I don't want to ruin my good shoes.
5. The Shower After a Long Run
Honestly, for me this one could be on a list by itself and motivate me to get out there. I hope I'm not the only weirdo who experiences this, but I LOVE the feeling of taking a shower after a long run. It's such a euphoric, relaxing, happy time. Perhaps the sense of accomplishment is tied into this one, because you notice how tired your body is. I'm not sure what the science is behind this, but next time you shower after a long run, pay attention to how awesome you feel.