If I had a dollar for every time someone told me I was crazy for running as much as I do (which, to be honest, isn’t that much compared to some), I’d probably have enough dollars to buy a new pair of running shoes.
But I don’t think I’m crazy, I’ve actually given this a lot of thought as to why I do what I do (I’m unfortunately, painfully self-aware and analyze everything I do.), and here’s the list of reasons I’ve come up with, thought it’s by no means comprehensive.
- I run to warm-up. Going into workouts cold is no fun, especially flexibility workouts like yoga. Running warms up my muscles and get me mentally and physically prepared for whatever comes next.
- I run because walking is too slow. Sometimes, I’ll be walking around (not as part of a workout) and wish I were in my running shoes, because it feels like I’m moving too slowly and would just like to get there already.
- I run to relieve stress. I love keeping a busy schedule, but there are times when I just want to run out of my office… literally. Sometimes I have. Nothing feels better than pounding the pavement instead of pounding my head against a wall.
- I run to feel the burn. Whether it’s the burn in my lungs or the burn in my muscles, I love the feeling of pushing my physical limits. And if I’m slightly sore the next morning, so much the better.
- I run to be healthy. The health benefits of regular exercise are well-documented. People who get at least 30 minutes of cadio three times a week are at a lowered risk of diseases and are healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- I run to be stronger. With each run I know that I’m getting better, going farther, and finishing faster, and that’s a beautiful feeling.
- I run to improve my endurance. No one wants to be that person that gets winded walking up a flight of stairs.
- I run to impress others. Yes, I admit it: a lot of times I go running so that the people around me think more highly of me. Friends, coworkers, family, social media followers—I want them all to know that I run and I’m pretty darn good at it, too.
- I run to explore new places. One of the first things I do when I get to a new place is go for a run. Even if I’m just going to be there for the weekend, I like knowing what’s around me and taking in the sights.
- I run to focus myself. Most days my thoughts are scattered in a thousand different directions. Going for a run gives me time to sort through all of them and arrange my priorities, so that when I get back, I have a plan of attack.
- I run because I feel restless. Generally, I’d classify myself as a homebody, but when the walls of home feel like they closing in around me, I’ve got to get out into the beauty of the outdoors and fresh air.
- I run for my heart. I have a heart condition, and even though I’m on medication, running helps my heart to function better.
- I run to people watch. People are funny, especially when they think no one’s watching. I don’t spy; I observe.
- I run to escape. Home isn’t always the most sane place to be. Despite how much I’ve always loved my family and roommates, sometimes I just need to run away from it all and have my space.
- I run to train. Starting this week, I’m going to be training for my first half-marathon. Since I’m naturally a competitive person, it’ll be nice to have a concrete goal to train for.
- I run to feel better about myself. Knowing I’ve achieved something, even if it’s as simple as a three-mile run, makes me as though I haven’t wasted an otherwise uneventful day.
- I run so I have an excuse to listen to new music. If I’ve got new music on my iPod, really the only time I have to listen to it is during my run.
- I run for revenge. More than a few times my runs have been fueled by the unexpected appearance of pictures of an ex-boyfriend and his current girlfriend on my Facebook newsfeed. Whatever it takes to get motivated, right?
- I run to look good. Let’s face it: one of the major reasons a lot of people run and workout is to lose weight, tone up, gain muscle, and look better in general, and I’m no exception.
- I run to compete. I’m not only competing against my previous times and the voice inside my head but occasionally my friends and their posted times.
- I run because some people can’t. I’ve heard stories of people who’ve lost legs or who are paralyzed and physically can’t run. A lot of them are still physically active. That doesn’t leave me with any excuse not to run.
- I run because some people don’t. Those motivational posters that talk about lapping everyone sitting on the couch sums this point up quite nicely.
- I run to get off my butt. I sit at my desk all day long at work, and most days I’m just counting the hours until I’m done and I can head home to run.
- I run so I’m ready for group sports with friends. Every once in a while, my friends and I will get together for beach volleyball, a pick-up game of basketball, or some other group sport, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to be the weakest link on the team.
And then there are days when I struggle to answer the question of why I run. Those days, it’s not a matter of running because I want to but because I have to. And not have to in a sense that I feel the compulsion to cross it off my to-do list, but have to as in I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t go running.
It’s not as vital as breathing to me yet, but just give it some time and I’m sure I’ll get to that point soon.
Fun fact: I almost called this site “A Reason to Run,” but the domain name was already taken, so I spent a few more hours coming up with something equal parts elegant, marketable, and funny (or punny, as the case may be). I’m quite picky when it comes to these things, so only time will tell if I actually like the name “The Sole of a Runner.”