Why Do You Run? {Global Running Day 2016}

Global Running Day 2016

Happy Global Running Day!

I have an inquisitive personality, so I frequently ask the question why. Why is Seattle traffic so incredibly frustrating? Why is Charlie hiding under the bed? And often, why do I run?

Global Running Day 2016

It’s not a why in desperation, but more so a constant pondering of the numerous benefits running of running, which vary according to the season.

Sometimes I run because I’m restless. Rarely do I do well in one place without exploring others, or stuck inside when the outdoors beckon me. Running releases me from that restlessness, alleviating my desire to move, see new things, and wander.

Sometimes I run because I’m driven. I’m a competitive personality and while I’ve learned to not let goals control my emotions or life, I still feel a fire burning deep in my bones that requires quenching through pushing myself to my very limit. I run races not for fun but to find my limit, push past it, and emerge on the other side of the finish line faster and stronger than I previously believed I could be.

Sometimes I run for the fresh air and time in nature. I believe deep down in the human heart there’s a desire to spend time in nature. No urban jungles will do, at least for me. Running lets me see the looming evergreen trees, the sparkling lakes and rivers, and the mountains peaking over the horizon, all within an hour’s jaunt.

Global Running Day 2016

Sometimes I run for discomfort, to grit my teeth, feel the sweat in my eyes, and the pounding of my heart against my chest as if I wants to escape. Yes, that sounds masochistic, but a little discomfort here and there teaches character. You don’t learn perseverance and mental fortitude from a comfortable life, and modern life is all too comfortable for many of us. Sometimes, the joy of running comes just because of how physically and mentally hard it is; think of how elated you feel after a challenging long run or interval workout. 

Sometimes I run because I love running, for its simplicity, for the pure joy in miles, as an end in itself.

Running doesn’t require fancy equipment or special memberships. Running is not regulated to a particular place or age. Running doesn’t judge you; it takes you as you are. If you run, you are a runner

Running may be an individual sport, but it is also a communal sport. I’ve met all of you through running, for which I am utterly grateful. For each quiet, introspective run I crave, there’s also a desire to pace alongside others for those middle miles of a race, to share that brief bond together. And I’ll take a few muddy trail miles with my husband any day over a fancy dinner date.

You may start running to lose weight, to improve your fitness, or to race, but you learn on the road or trail something about yourself that keeps you running, often for longer durations, even once the weight is shed or the race is over.

The truth is, miles change you. Running may not define you as a person, but it most certainly is a crucible which refines you.

At the end of the day, I can offer you all of the running workouts and training tips you crave, but what matters most isn’t the number of miles you log or your splits: it’s the pure and simple fact of running that makes the difference.

[Tweet “Happy Global Running Day! Why do you run? #runchat #globalrunningday via @thisrunrecipes”]

Why do you run? Share your story in the comments!

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24 Responses

  1. Love this! Running definitely is a communal sport, but I love that we can go out and do it on our own if we prefer. I also love that it takes me outside, whereas I would probably get much less time outdoors if I didn’t run. Happy Global Running Day! I hope you have a great run today!

  2. release. That’s what running is for me. A release of any emotion I’m feeling. A release of sweat. A release from the house. A release into letting myself go places I never thought my body could go.

  3. Happy Global Running Day :). Running has helped me through a lot of difficult times but also been a “constant” in my life through the good and the bad. I’ve had different friends, residences, etc, but running has been in my life for the past 6-7 years and I like that. Thanks for always bringing us great blog posts, too.

    1. Happy Global Running Day to you! One of the best parts of running is that it is such a constant – it can be done anywhere, at almost any stage of life. Awww, and thank you for always reading!

  4. I started running to increase my activity level when I felt restless no longer having a consistent sport or anything in my life (post childhood ballet 5x per week and then coxswaining for my HS and college crew teams), and then kept running to run away from law school haha 🙂 But now I run for mental clarity, for time outdoors in nature, for time to focus on finding my limits and pushing myself to see what I am capable of. All good reasons, and there are probably a lot more!

  5. Why IS Charlie hiding under the bed? 😉 I run because it helps me manage my anxiety disorder. It’s been more effective than medication and psychotherapy, even though I definitely have needed those too.

    1. Usually because he can’t fit under the sofa anymore and needs somewhere to be his pug lair. Or because somewhere I’ll find a potty accident or something destroyed 🙂 It’s awesome how running has been able to help you manage anxiety. There’s something so cathartic about running.

  6. Selfishly, I run for me. I played various team sports growing up and I loved them, but running allows me to see how I can push myself. I “compete” with no one other than myself (well…okay….I do “compete” with the other women and those in my age group 🙂 ). Ironically, last night…my son’s little friend asked “why do you run?” My son chimed in with “because it’s healthy”. I told this little boy that yes it is for my health, but that I just enjoy how it makes me feel. Pretty plain and simple.

    Happy Global Running Day!! 🙂

    1. I think at the end of the day everyone runs for themselves! Ultimately running for someone other than you would eventually not have a point – intrinsic motivation and enjoyment is important. Happy Global Running Day!

  7. Insanely beautiful and poignant post Laura! Your words ring so true and resonate with me deeply. This is most certainly the most meaningful thing I’ve read on Global Running Day. So glad the sport has connected us. xo

    1. Thank you so much, Jes! I adored your post to pieces and loved what you said about running as a shared experience. So glad to have connected with you through running and hope to long some miles with you in person someday! 🙂

  8. Beautiful, Laura! I usually only ask myself why I run during a race, and only when it’s getting tough. Even at my 10k last weekend, there was a point where I was questioning my sanity. I’m sure if I wasn’t pushing so hard I wouldn’t have those moments! Once I cross the finish line, the answer presents itself.

    1. Thank you! Oh yes, during a race is a time that I think we all ask ourselves why we did this! You are so right, though, the finish line always provides the answer – that feeling of accomplishment is incredible and ineffable.

  9. Very well said! I run because it shows me that I am capable of much more than I originally thought I was capable of. It’s also a good way for me to silence my mind and recenter after a long day or week. Hope you had a good run yesterday!

    1. Thank you! Yes, showing us we can do so much more than we thought is one of the best parts of running! I did have a great run, thank you – I hope you did as well!

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