Why Do You Run?

The other day, Mama Pea posted about why she no longer runs. And her post really got me thinking. Especially this part:

Here are the wrong reasons to run:

  • Because everyone else is doing it.
  • Because you want a collection of “free” t-shirts, participation medals, race bibs or the right to put a sticker on your car that says “13.1” or “26.2.”
  • Because you want an excuse to eat a bunch of junk food and/or massive quantities to “fuel” your runs.
  • Because you want an excuse to eat jelly beans on Saturday mornings at mile 7.
  • Because you think it makes you a better athlete or even more ridiculous, a better person.
  • Because you want friends and family members to line up in the cold to make you feel loved by holding up signs for you and cheering.
  • Because you think the only way to be the size or level of fitness that society and/or you are convinced is “ideal” is to torture yourself by pounding mile after mile on the treadmill or the pavement.

Here are the right reasons to run:

  • Because you love it.

That’s it.

I don’t know if I agree.

Here’s a confession: I don’t love running.

I don’t enjoy the physical act of pounding the pavement. I don’t enjoy getting out of breath and feeling my lungs ache. I don’t enjoy sweaty profusely after dragging myself out of bed at an ungodly hour to run.

But I do love running for a lot of other reasons.

I love running because:

  • Running has brought me closer to my friends and family – and has bought me new friends in the process.
  • Running has helped me get into the best shape of my life.
  • Running has shown me that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to do.
  • Running has given me much needed “me time” as a new mom.
  • Running is FREE.
  • Running gives me an exhilaration as I cross the finish line that I don’t get when completing another spin, Zumba or yoga class.

And yes, as corny as it sounds, I do believe running has made me a better person.

It has given me a sense of clarity, of determination and of commitment. I believe I am the best version of myself when I am running on a regular basis.

That being said, I don’t think running is for everyone.

But it is for me.

Why do you run?

44 Comments

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44 Responses to Why Do You Run?

  1. I agree with a lot of your reasons, although I still haven’t made any new friends from running. I really really wish I have but just hasn’t happened yet. I feel like running with a friend(s) would make something that I actually get enjoyment out of even better.

    • You know, I didn’t run with friends for a long, long time. One – I never felt comfortable with it. I always felt I’d be too slow. Thankfully, I found a friend who wanted to run too and we had both just had babies. We were starting (again) at the same place and built up our endurance together. I love those times with her! I’ve also made running friends through the local running group I started attending (again, a big leap for me since I always feared getting left behind). And believe it or not, some of the running friends I’ve made locally have been through blogging! But you never know who around you might be interested in running too. Don’t be afraid to ask. :)

      • I’m such a chicken, I’m totally outgoing after you know me, but walking up to a group of runners to be like “hey guys, I’m taggin along” (even tho thats what running groups are) Scares the begeezus out of me. lol

        • I agree! I’m so shy to just ask other runners for buddy runs. I feel like I will slow them down, too. But I know in the end it will be beneficial – pushing me, especially if they are faster.
          I like this post. I found my new love for running after my first race… and again after my first half. It gave me the feeling of accomplishment that I haven’t had in a very long time!

          • ladies – find a running group. I PROMISE there will be people of all paces. I was terrified to join a running group because I thought I was too slow. I was slow. But that doesn’t mean people didn’t want to run with me. When i first joined it was a relatively new group. I was a 10:30-11:00/miler and I was running with people that would normally be doing low 9′s. But they ran with me. That’s when we remember that the running community is really supportive. We went from 10 people to nearly 40 people in a matter of weeks. All paces ranging from 6:30s to 12′s. There is ALWAYS someone to run with. Even the fasties like to take a break every once in awhile and will run with you if you’re slower. It lets them have a recovery run and boosts their ego for helping out a fellow runner. You’re ego will boost because before you know it, you ARE GETTING FASTER! without realizing it, you will get faster. I promise. I now consistently do 9:30s. And I have found a group that has included people that have become life long friends. There are some people that are much faster than me, and i dont’ run with them that often.. but they are some of the closest friends i’ve made in this group.

            Try it – stick with it – you’ll find a new, supportive community to be a part of.

  2. I really enjoyed your post! I have to agree, I don’t love running. But I love the way it makes me feel, the good qualities it brings out in me and the bonding I have had with other runners. Most runs I spend counting the minutes until it’s over. But I have never felt anything but pride and accomplishment after a run!

  3. So funny you asked this today – I just blogged about restarting my relationship with running as a “because I want to” and not “because I have to” (see link below). I run for reasons similar to you. I don’t LOVE it, but I do love the challenge, the constant striving to get better, further, faster, the exhilaration of achieving a goal or finishing a race. Thanks for the thoughtful post – gives some perspective!

  4. I run because I am totally in love with it and it has most definitely made me a better person…bc of my commitment level, etc. I had a love/hate relationship the first year but since then..its all love

  5. Nice post, Callie.

    I wrote a post about why I love running a few weeks ago!

    http://shiawaselife.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/why-i-3-running/

  6. Great post! I run because of many of the same reasons you gave. I also run because it gives me something to look forward to, to train for, to push myself for, and to set concrete goals around. In a way, it does make me a better person….just not on the days I bitch about it to everyone I know =)

  7. I really like this post. I used to not love running. I just did it “because.” I needed a new cardio. It was faster than walking a million hours on the treadmill. I could run with my hubby. But one day something just clicked and I fell in love with it. I feel such a sense of accomplishment, pride in myself. I actually feel like an athlete. It’s definitely my meditation time as well. And I love your reasons. Thank you for this one.

  8. I am new to running, and I have never in my life liked it at all. I am already a very lean person, so when people would ask me if I run (I guess they assume I do because of my build) my answer was always “only if I’m being chased.” I decided to start running last year when a friend of mine took me out with her a couple times. Like you I don’t really like the pain from running- for me though I absolutely love the feeling I get after I run. I get a burst of energy, my mind clears, and I feel relaxed. If I go out in a bad mood, I return with a new perspective and a much better mood. That’s what I like about running- not the physical part but the mental part.

  9. Great post!

    I love 2 run 2gether with my twin 2 raise money 2 support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer! :-)

  10. I love running because it is a part of who I am. It is the one area in my life that I have to answer to no one but myself. I have all of the control over my success of failure. I love that about running :)

  11. I agree. I don’t always love to run, sometimes I DREAD it, but I love competing, I love to race, I love the sense of accomplishment!

  12. Thanks for the discussion! I’m so glad running has been something positive for you. (and it sounds like you DO love it)

    Something I didn’t state in my post but raised in the comments was the point that there is a big difference between, “This is hard.” and “This is harmful.” For me, running was definitely becoming the latter, making it the best decision to end the relationship.

    Great post!

    • Thanks for sparking the discussion! And I definitely think you’re right – when running because harmful it is time to stop! I reached that point during my pregnancy and it certainly was the right decision for me at that time.

  13. I love this post. I completely agree with you. I don’t necessarily love the actual running part, but I love the way I feel AFTER a good run, no matter how slow, sweaty, tired or achey I felt during the process. I never regret getting out there and always feel good about myself when I’m done. Even if it was just a quick mile or two. I’ve met so many people- from pros, to beginners, to bloggers, and dozens upon dozens of athelete- that have inspired me to challenge myself to see what my body is capable of. Two years ago, at 368lbs, I did not love my life. -80lbs later, today, I do and I owe it all to the awesome running community and a little thing called the Gasparilla 5k, 2010. :)

  14. amy

    I love ‘jelly beans at mile 7′
    but that’s not why I run.
    I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a long run, a fast run, or a race. I love the feeling of getting faster.
    I love the feeling when I get home from a run and my kids ask me how my run was.
    I love modeling this active lifestyle for my kids
    I love that my husband brags about my running!

  15. Agreed! Great post. :) Running is my “me time” and it gives me confidence. I never thought I could do a half marathon, but I surprised myself. I mustered up the courage to try, and I did it.

  16. I run for a lot of reasons, but I actually do love running. I love the feeling of being a good groove, of feeling fluid and strong. I love sweating and knowing I’m doing something good for my body. I love being outside. I love sprinting and pushing myself to go as fast as possible. Those are the reasons I love running on my own… and those are the things I loved before I started running races. Racing added a whole new dimension. Competing with myself is just a small part… you can’t beat the camaraderie and support of the running community!

  17. Awesome post, Callie! I run because I love it and I think I love it even more because there have been several times in my life when I wasn’t able to run due to injury. Once the injuries have healed, being able to run again feels like a reward!

  18. Such an easy question with no easy answer. I do run because I love it, but it took me a while to get there. Once I let go of feeling like I had to be faster, stronger, and thinner, I finally found the joy in it.

    However, ask me again after Saturday. We’ll see how joyful I feel :-)

  19. Why do I run? Hmmmm. Well I certainly don’t love it. Sometimes I absolutely dread my runs! But I’m never regretful afterwards!

    I run to be fit! When I signed up for my half I did it to challenge myself to do something I thought was impossible! I also did it to commit myself to a workout schedule, with my training plan I know I will be working out at least 3 or 4 times a week.

    Something I do love about running… you can feel yourself improving! And it happens pretty fast… in January I was running 2 or 3 miles and it was a challenge, and now I’m pushing 6 or 7 and I feel pretty good! So exciting :)

  20. I run because it makes me feel strong, it gives me an amazing sense of accomplishment, great way to enjoy the scenery, and I’m too impatient to walk. :)

  21. Kirsten

    Great post and good food for thought. After the birth of my first child I struggled to find my exercise groove, being a working mom and wanting to spend all of my nonworking time with my daughter. I eventually found running because it fit best into my schedule and was something I could do with my daughter (in the stroller). I enjoyed seeing my progress and training for a half marathon. After getting pregnant with twins and not running for over a year, I recently got back into it and am training for another half. Like you, I enjoy the “me” time and running with my mom and other friends. I also enjoy running with the babies on my days home (I work part-time now). Do I love running? Yes and no. But for me, it was like that with every form of exercise. I think being active is important and I hope I can share that with my children, no matter the type of exercise.

  22. I’m just starting out and love what I have accomplished so far. I agree with your reasons. As a busy mom of two I love having a little me time in my day.

  23. i’m super glad you posted this. in a matter of 2.5 years i’ve become a runner. from being a pack a day smoker, 25 lbs overweight and training for my first 5k to completing my first marathon last october. I am a runner, and i’m not a pretend runner. I put in the miles and the time, and i am a runner. And you know what? i dont’ necessarily enjoy running all the time. But what I do love is accomplishing something I set out to do. There are other things that I may not be able to accomplish for external reasons.. .Running is never one of them. It is ALL up to me and the energy i put into it. I love crossing a finish line. I love the feeling after completing a run – even if it was a particular crappy run where i struggled the whole time, i feel great knowing that i didn’t give up, i still got out there and did it. I read Mama Pea’s post and “kind of” agreed with her then, but didn’t really think too much about what it was that bothered me about that post. For her, that’s fine. That’s why she doesn’t like running and that’s why she doesn’t run. Not everyone wants to. I definitely don’t want to most days, but your post perfectly explained why running is important to me. Thank you.

  24. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I personally don’t think that anyone should tell anyone whether they should or shouldn’t run. To me that is such a personal thing. Each person does it for their own reasons. Who has the right to tell you that your reason is wrong? I run to feel empowered!
    Keep running you look amazing!

  25. Wait, I thought we were all in it for the jelly beans at mile 7.

    To each their own. I love the running community and wouldn’t be running today if it wasn’t for my friends. It’s such a huge factor for me and that circle has grown with social media. Thanks for the post and wonderful insight into why WE run.

  26. I definitely don’t love running. But I know that it’ll always be a fixture in my fitness routine (even if I take a month long break every now and then…like right now…)

    Running is HARD for me . I’ve never been a “natural” at running. Every time I put those running shoes on I have to give myself a mini-pep talk just to get myself out the door. Sure, I’ve gotten swept into doing more events and longer distances just because “everyone else is doing it” but I’ve had fun along the way & have gotten healthier because of it. Running is one of the sure-fire workouts that helps keep me at a healthy weight – and as long as I don’t get to the point where I absolutely hate running (or can’t run because of an injury) I’ll probably keep doing it. Just because I can.

  27. Jen

    I am a bit over post lately that say – you shouldn’t run if you don’t love it, or you shouldn’t run to lose weight…or blah blah blah. You know what I don’t love running, but I love the feeling of finishing a run and feelng accomplished. Its a different feeling then what I get when I take a spin class or hot yoga. I also love the way running shapes my body differently then other workouts – so yes I use running as a way to help me lose weight. Maybe I am more sick of people telling me why I should run and wish that they would just worry about their love for running. What they do is great it has no impact on me…..my run will be my run for whatever reason I want. They can run or not – its up to them.

    - sorry just a little rant. :)

  28. i love this post. I run for all those reasons but most importantly because it taught be I can do anything I put my mind to!

  29. I love the feeling of accomplishment, strength, and power. Plus…it’s good therapy. ;)

  30. I agree that running isnt always the most enjoyable, but is great for my body and my mind. And the feeling of accomplishment after a long run is unbeatable! I am not a natural when it comes to running. In fact, I actually run/walk. Different strokes for different folks, I guess! :)

  31. This post is dead on 100%. Excellent work! I agree completely. While I DO love running, I really do love it, I don’t always love it. In fact, I probably hate it more often than I love it. I don’t think that running to exercise is a bad thing, or running to catch up with your friends (even if the running part itself isn’t that great). And what about the feeling of accomplishment you get after you run farther or faster than you have before?

  32. I run for cupcakes!

    Ha! Amongst other reasons… like energy, discipline, accomplishment, health and of course, laughs. My running group makes me laugh so much.

    If you’re interesting in joining a running group, but have no idea where to start, I suggest finding a local running shop and asking them. They should be able to help direct you! I know that here in Orlando, Track Shack runs Marathonfest and I love running with my Marathonfest group!

  33. P.S. I have a love/hate relationship with running. Luckily the love part keeps coming out on top!

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  35. Great post. Truth be told there are times I run so I can eat…or I run bc we are going out to dinner that night…but the real reason I yearn to run is just to have the “me” time and to push myself. Nobody makes you run. You do it. It’s a very personal activity I think and while the process of running hurts I have NEVER, EVER regretted a run.

  36. You hit the nail on the head, lady! I don’t love running either – but I love all of the things it does for me, my relationships, my body and my mind. I hate getting up at 5 am. I hate sweating like CRAZY at 5 am when it’s already 78 degrees outside. I hate pushing myself and feeling my lungs and muscles burning.

    But I love being fit; feeling strong; feeling awesome when I cross that finish line. Having 2+ hours to gossip with my BFF on Saturday mornings. Having time to myself to think through tough problems before I start my hectic days. Ya know. All of those things you mentioned above.

    Great post ;)

  37. I don’t agree with Mama Pea at all (about many things). I think there are so many reasons to run and I don’t think MP should invalidate them. I think running for the medal or the sticker is fine! It’s a goal and a reward. Even if you don’t love doing it, there is so much satisfaction in accomplishing something you didn’t know you could ever do, or something that is really HARD! Most of the time, I don’t love running. But I always love finishing. Whatever, MP.

  38. I had a lot of similar thoughts about that post. I hated running the first year and a half of doing it. Now I feel like I’ve finally caught my stride and understand my love/hate relationship. Sometimes it hurts, and it’s even made me sick before. But I never would’ve thought I could run a half marathon and now I’ve done two. There will be more, and hopefully a half come December. Running helps me set new goals and remember that anything can happen with time and dedication.

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