Why I Run
When I first started running, it was torture. I thought my body was allergic to it from the way it physically made me feel.
Courtney Cornwall, Outrun Gravity
Feeling the pressures to become a successful runner and live up to my brother’s name left me with only one choice: get better.
For me and for almost every individual who begins their running journey, getting started is the hardest part.
Fortunately, my brother’s college roommate woke up every single morning at 6:00 to run. The only way to push myself and to make myself improve was to go with him. It started with three miles every single morning. It sucked at first. But every morning got better and better, and running started to come easier. Having my brother’s friend as that support system held me accountable, and sticking with a daily regimen of running made that feeling of wanting to quit disappear. Now I was actually chasing something. In the span of one summer, I went from an average runner to a high school and collegiate All-American runner.
THIS is why I run…
I run to experience growth. Even taking that step to start the journey is growth. If you are afraid or intimidated to start, find your inspiration and find your why. Maybe it’s simply to say you did it and you overcame the challenge, the pain, the torture, or the fear that running brings you. There is always growth in the journey. When I was at the peak of my training, whether I would run fast or run slow, I always felt that I was getting better. Running now helps me feel growth in other aspects of my adult life. It confirms and reassures my resiliency to be able take on other challenges. Now, when I go out for a run, it brings me back to the beginning and reminds me how to persevere. Every ounce of hard work put in and every inch of distance my feet have covered has gotten me to this point. And it only leaves me craving more.
I run as a form of meditation. There are few things in life that bring me total peace with myself and with everything else going on around me. Controlling my breath and breaking a sweat as I push my body forward does just that. Running for me is when I am the most present. It’s my escape. The faster I go and the more into the run I get, the more my thoughts tend to slow down. There’s a sense of calm with my mind that enhances my connection with myself. Being able to assess this experience and recognize when your thoughts slow down and being fully present is a beautiful experience. When things are busy, chaotic, challenging, or overwhelming, I know I can go for that 20, 30, 40, 50-minute run to easily reset myself. This even makes me more productive after the fact! Running centers me.
If you are contemplating starting running, or it’s always been something you’ve wanted to do, here’s my advice:
-Put your running shoes on. Make sure they’re comfortable and broken in.
-Begin your run at the top of a hill. The best part of any run is going downhill. The body naturally glides down a hill, and it’s when you feel the most free. If you begin your run at the top of a hill, you are more likely to start and give it a try. Just as with anything, some days will be easier than others. Don’t give up if the first run doesn’t go as expected. Run for as long as you can and get back out there the next day at the top of that hill.
-Make it a routine. Whether you prefer to wake up at 6AM to run to start off your day, or if you prefer after work runs as the sun is setting, make it just another part of your day. It will become second nature and your body will start to crave it.
“During each run, just put one foot in front of the other.”
Push through the pain and think about the finish line. Play your favorite soundtrack. Listen to inspirational music that pumps you up and makes you feel like you can conquer the world. Just keep going, and don’t stop.
I run because it allows you to see what you’re made of. It’s that feeling of pushing harder, the concept of battling with yourself to realize your body’s true limits. Running changes lives and every healthy body is capable of doing it…So what are you waiting for?