Recently I have received the same question a lot. Why do I enjoy running so much?
I typically run about four times per week covering 7 to 10 km per run with the occasional longer run, so it’s not extreme. I run all year round though, and that may be a bigger reason for those question. With summers up to 40 degrees celsius and winters down to -15 with ice and snow, the conditions can be a little tough. Regardless, I run.
I used to need to find running motivation. Registering for a race would drive my motivation through fear of failure on race day. It would force me out the door, and it worked.
In recent years it became less about the race and more about the joy of the sport. Has the simple repetition over the years created a habit?
I never knew how to answer the question why I enjoy running, “I simply enjoy it” was my typical answer. But it got me thinking. Why?
So these are my reasons, maybe they will resonate with you. Maybe your motivations are different. Or maybe, this will simply help motivate you to go out for a run.
1.It Clears My Mind
More than any other sport, running clears my mind.
I always seem to run with purpose. I think about my goals. My run goals are not always about being faster, sometimes they are about being slower. Whilst I am not a fast runner, I still struggle to slow down for my recovery runs. Sometimes it’s about intervals or a tempo run and I am pushing hard.
By having this type of focus I take my thoughts away from everything else. I no longer think about the tough day at the office, or the presentation tomorrow. I create a brief moment where my mind disconnects and I enjoy the moment of freedom.
2. Staying Physically Healthy
This may well be the most obvious benefit and a strong motivator for me.
I enjoy feeling healthy! This combines the balance of exercise and eating well. I am by no means fitness or health obsessed. I don’t jump at the latest diets to stay in shape nor do I sacrifice a good meal for the sake of ‘watching my diet’.
I have a simple believe in balance. If I want to enjoy the good things in life (the occasional hamburger), It needs to be balanced. And running offers me that balance.
Over the years, I have see the health benefits from my running, and this motivates me more.
3. Running Makes Me Mentally Strong
My wife often comments on my mood after a run. Whether it’s a good or a bad, the simple fact that I have been out for exercise puts a smile one my face. It’s an adrenaline rush and a real sense of achievement.
I love the feeling of being active, it loosens me up. Especially after hours at a desk. It gives me a feeling of freedom and when the run itself is tough, the feeling of reward is even greater.
I have been running for about 10 years now. I can safely say that it has changed my physically. The biggest change however, is how running has change my mental strength. Running is not easy. It is a never ending challenge. By increasing distance or pace, or my making a return to running after a break. There are always hurdles to overcome.
This aspect of running is what I love the most. It’s measurable. You know where you start. The challenges you face and the results that you achieve with some hard work are visible. Applying this principle and the confidence gained from running works in so many aspects of life, whether it is decisions to make, or tough days in the office.
The confidence I gained from running truly made me feel like anything is possible.
4.I Got Social
I started to organise a group run with a small group of friends who enjoy running, and anyone else who wants to join. You can check the Loop homepage for upcoming runs. Join us if you happen to be in Bucharest! We meet on Saturday mornings and go for a run, followed by our reward, coffee and time to catch up.
Making running social added a whole new dimension to what was often a relatively a solitary sport. Sure, our chat during the run slows down as the distance increases but that’s why we go for a coffee after. Running as part of a group made me commit and pushed me out the door event when it was cold and snowy.
The other benefit I get from group is that it adds some variety to my type of running. It forces me to adjust my running to the people around me. Sometimes faster, sometimes slower. It forces me to manage my pace, not only to my own rhythm but to theirs.
If you run alone I encourage you to look for a group near you. It truly has the ability to strengthen your running and your friendships.
I can run almost anywhere. Literally.
There are other sports I enjoy cycling, swimming, tennis, golf…. the list goes on. In addition to the health benefits running gives me it is also its accessibility that I like.
I don’t need to plan it. If I choose to go run when I finish this post, I can. And maybe I will. All I need is my gear and to walk out the front door, night or day. Going for a run is also often a relatively short time commitment, for what I feel is a great return. Unless you are on a marathon training plan, an hour will give you a great work out. Or even a fast 5k will do the trick.
I also love to go out for a jog when I travel, it is a great way to discover a new city and running gear is easy to pack and take with you anywhere!
Jeroen is a keen runner and triathlete. With over 10 years of experience training and participating in races, simply for the joy of sport he has turned to sharing his experience through the articles he writes. As a founder at Loop Social Sport Jeroen has focused his passion on creating a community of like minded individuals who not only train together but also motivate newcomers to take up sport, whether in person or via this blog.