I never thought I’d become a runner. It was 2015, I was out of shape, and still about 25-30 pounds over the weight that I felt most fit. I didn’t have many healthy stress outlets at the time, and wanted to try running.
I remember I started by going on a loop that was about 2.8 miles. The starting point was at the 24 Hour Fitness where I workout so that was convenient. I would have to stop every 1/3rd of a mile or so and walk for few minutes to get my breathe back, and this was what I did for about the first 6-8 months of running.
I kept at it and before I knew it…I was a runner! Up until I reinjured my shoulder which required a second surgery, I was running pretty much every single day for a total of about 40 miles a week. I went through extensive rehab for 7 months after that surgery, and was so excited to be able to lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement.
I ran a half marathon in 2018, and I remember finishing it was honestly one of my favorite parts of the entire year. I signed up for it on a whim on a Tuesday, and the race was that weekend. It was a great feeling to accomplish something like this, and I really liked the whole experience. I am now training for my first marathon!
Below I wrote eight reasons why I will be a passionate runner for the rest of my life- as long as I’m healthy and able to.
1. It allows me to feel as if I’m able to escape all the drama of the world and helps clear my head so I’m able to handle problems more efficiently. Life gets crazy sometimes. I have a lot going on that can be pretty overwhelming so it’s nice to know when things are hectic, I’m able to lock in on something that’s all just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and simply focus on that for a solid hour or so. Once I’m done all the problems I may have just feel lighter.
2. “Runners high” is a real thing and I feel on top of the world when I’m over halfway done with the distance I am aiming to run for each day. The first half of plenty of my runs can be a little slow because sometimes I get worried about the amount of distance I have left to run in order to hit my goal that day. But on a day where let’s say I want to run eight miles, on about mile five or so I start to really get that runners high, and am able to enjoy every minute remaining because I know I’ve got most of the way done already. Songs sound amazing at that point, and I notice I really start appreciating the nature I’m passing by as corny as it sounds.
3. Being able to run 4-10 miles on any given day is an excellent tool to make sure my weight stays under control. There was a period during high school where I gained a significant amount of weight. It took a lot of effort and discipline to get the weight off and get fit. Running is an excellent for cardiovascular health, and burns a significant amount of calories. It’s nice knowing that you get more breathing room with your diet when you are able to be consistent and disciplined with a cardio routine.
4. The amount of time, effort, and energy it takes to run, and the discipline it takes to eat healthy, motivates me to avoid canceling out all hard work by making a habit of partying. I’m not a partier. I’ve gone in phases where I’ve went out and had some crazy times with buddies and what not, but I have pretty much completely stepped away from that scene. Alcohol can really pack on the pounds, not to mention the fact that more often than not, your workout and exercise the following day will most likely suffer and you will crave more junk the next day as well. You won’t meet all too many frequent and habitual partiers who are in top notch shape.
5. When I am stressed or dealing with issues, running has become my new healthy escape rather than always resorting to alcohol. Like I hinted at above, alcohol and physique do not go hand in hand unless it’s monitored pretty well and really kept under control. When I used to get frustrated about things I’d deepen the issue by using alcohol to forget about the problem, when really it usually just amplified the issue.
When I run, I am also avoiding running from my problems. While I’m on a run, I’m able to deeply contemplate situations, and do my best to think things out as clearly as possible, rather than just trying to completely avoid my issues. I get my thoughts, opinions, and positions on issues in order, and make sure I’m clear on them. I feel more enegized and have more clarity after I run.
6. I feel a great sense of accomplishment every time I run. It’s a great feeling to complete a run. I like the feeling of pushing myself. Any type of progression is a great feeling of accomplishment, whether it’s improving your average pace per mile, increasing the distance, or pushing yourself to run in non-ideal situations despite different circumstances such as the climate being above or below what you’re used to, as well as running unfamiliar routes. (like the time I got stuck in a major thunder/lighting storm in the pouring rain and ran 4 miles back to my car haha)
7. My goal for fitness is mainly to stay healthy and lean. Having suffered some serious injuries, I’ve come to the realization that it’s not realistic or in my best interest to be trying to push the most weight in the gym, or to be the biggest guy in the gym. Being a runner is something that I really enjoy, and helps me reach my fitness goals.
8. An hour being on airplane mode is often the most peaceful hour of my entire day. I typically run with my phone on airplain mode. I think many of us have developed a love/hate relationship with the internet and with our phones. Many people follow people on social media (I can be guilty of this as well I know), who just choose to mainly post the highlights of their life. It can easily and naturally bring us down when we scroll past the announcements of the best things happening in 100+ people’s lives in a row (although they’re probably going through lots of difficult stuff as well that you have no clue about). It’s natural to compare, and comparing ourselves often leads to a depressive feeling.
I am often also sent messages or receive calls that can be distracting and sometimes stressful. Being on airplane mode and escaping from the internet and the outside world for awhile, and being able to be 100% in tune with myself can be a great time to simply focus on what’s alive and what’s in front of me. It helps me learn to appreciate the tangible, God-given parts of life more.
What do you do to keep fit and to release stress?