In another post, I mentioned running as something I enjoy doing. Even when I was lost in the fog of depression, running kept me going. Aside from the obvious benefits of being able to eat cake, there are a beautiful myriad of other reasons why it’s such a great pursuit. I’ve summed up some of my reasons for doing it here.
It is whatever you want it to be. There are so many different ways you can run: road, trail, structured sessions, sprinting, jogging. There are races, long steady runs, gentle jogs, social meet-ups, hardcore events. There are 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, marathons, ultras. Whatever your wants or needs, there’s something for you.
It allows me to think – or not think too much. When I go running, my thoughts gently meander around and come in and out of soft-focus. My mind take itself off to wherever it wants to go. Sometimes I don’t think about anything much and then POW! I’ll hit upon the solution to an issue I wasn’t even actively thinking about.
It’s a great way to destress. I won’t even bore you with the science around endorphins yadda, yadda. Running (and the people you run with) will never fail to lift your mood. I may have gone into a run feeling agitated or annoyed and finished feeling calm, zen-like and possessing a better, more logical sense of perspective. It’s undoubtedly kept me out of unnecessary conflict and worry.
It tires me out yet wakes me up. So you’d expect, wouldn’t you, to feel bushed at the end of a run, I mean: running is HARD. Yet when I finish I am a different sort of tired – a sort of happy sleepy. My body hums with heavy warmth and I’m zapped through with a fresh energy and pinsharp clarity. It’s a completely different kind of tired to the end-of-a-busy-day sluggish fatigue. Honestly – the best thing to do when you’re feeling shattered is to go for a run. You’ll finish feeling tired in a different way but so much more satisfied.
I eat a more balanced diet. When I’m exercising or training, I tend to think more carefully about the types of food I’m putting into my mouth. This is because I see it more for what it is – a source of energy rather than fodder. If you’ve been out for a tough training run having scoffed lots of biscuits a few hours earlier then you’ll know exactly what I mean. You feel like a sloth and the Hob-Nobs (by now repeating on you) are doing you no favours. Running keeps me disciplined with my nutrition because I want to feed my body well. OK yes, and enjoy cake (moderately!)
I’ve met the best people. I belong to a running club which is populated with individuals who I love like my family. I’ve met other like-minded souls too through doing races and parkruns. The running community is warm, friendly, supportive and great fun.
I’m rewarded with Devon’s views. It’s an inescapable act that Devon is hilly. But when you climb these devils the redemption is a vista that would take your breath away, had the ascent not already robbed you of that. Then you get to charge down the other side full pelt. Great fun.