Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why I Don't Like Running, But Do It Anyway

"Why I Don't Like Running, But Do It Anyway"
Photo courtesy of Timothy Takemoto
 Running has always been a love/hate relationship for me. A lot more leaning on the hate part than the love part over the years. I remember when I was young how we used to race against each other just for fun and play games like 'tag' where the main activity was running. And then when we got to high school there was track. A sport where winning gave you more than just neighborhood street cred. I was a member of the track team, but not because I actually loved running, or winning for that matter, of which I did very little. I signed up for track to stay in shape for basketball. Basketball was my sport, my passion, my life at that time. Running was something I did simply as part of a basketball game, or during practice when doing our dreaded 'suicides'. I never understood people that ran for 'fun'. What was that, 'fun' you say?  Getting out of breath, sometimes accompanied by cramps, left to your own thoughts and there is no real destination and nobody wins, what the hell is the point of that? But yet I ran, and ran and continued to run all through college, even up until now, let's just say a few years after college. Throughout the years I have realized that I just don't love running that much, never have, not sure if I ever will. But yet, I still do's why:

1.  Running is cheap - And so am I, well, I prefer to call it "budget conscious". You don't need any expensive equipment to run, in fact, you probably already own everything that you need: shoes, socks, bottoms, a top and a sports bra if you're a lady. Heck, even if you don't have any shoes barefoot running is now a 'thing' too.

2.  You can do it almost anywhere -  Get your head out of the gutter, I'm still talking about running here! You don't need a gym membership(another reason that supports #1). You're traveling and the hotel doesn't have a gym? So what, hit the pavement and a good workout is just over the next hill. Moved to a new neighborhood but don't know your way around? Best way to get to know any area is by going for a run! You will discover so many more things by running than you would if you were driving.

3.  You don't need to depend on anyone else but yourself to get it done - You don't need a partner, although sometimes it helps to motivate you and hold you accountable.

4.  You can do it almost anytime - As long as you live in a safe neighborhood, of course. Not a morning person? So what, run after work by streetlight.
Afternoon is more your thing? Bring a change of clothes to work and run on your lunch, just make sure to bring some deodorant too or your co-workers may not think it's such a good idea. I used to do this and it's amazing for your afternoon energy!  

5.  It's actually fun when you get into 'the zone' - I had heard about it for years before it actually happened to me. Then one afternoon after jogging back from Runyon Canyon I just got 'it'. I was in 'the zone' and it was good. For me 'the zone' is the moment where you are in good shape so that you don't even realize you are running and you can enjoy the rhythm that your body has developed and just sink into the thoughts of your mind. Nothing else matters except what is happening here and now. And here and now actually feels good.

6.  It's great for 'me time' - I get sooo many things sorted out in my head when I go for a run that I don't know how I worked this stuff out before I ran. And I've noticed that when I haven't run in awhile my head seems all a jumble. It's like the vibrations of running shakes all your thoughts into line.

7.  It's a great stress reliever - That 'runner's high' that everyone is talking about…it's real. There is a chemical that gets released called "endorphins" that are the brain's naturally occurring opiates, and that is why after a run you may feel a similar high as someone who has taken mood-altering drugs. It also boosts the brain's serotonin levels. Say bye-bye to the problems you were worrying about in traffic because you're now high on exercise!

8.  It's, like, good for you and stuff - It is still one of THE best workouts for cardiovascular health and it builds stronger bones. Running also strengthens the heart and reduces blood pressure. Did I mention it is one of the best calorie burners out there as well? And, oh yeah, it strengthens your immune system so you get sick less often too. Win. Win. Win. Win. Win.

9.  You feel good about yourself after you are done - I'm not just talking about the endorphins here, but the feeling that you actually went out there and did something good for yourself. Pushed yourself and went a little farther or a little faster? The sense of accomplishment you feel will multiply.

10.  I run because I can - There are so many people out there in the world that cannot just get up and run because of disabilities, illness, injury, etc...and they wish that they could. I can. So I do. How 'bout you? Why do you run?
"Why I Don't Like Running, But Do It Anyway"
Photo courtesy of Gareth Williams
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