Since I’m nearly done with my first half marathon training cycle, I’ve had a lot of time to think about running and what it means to be a runner. I’ve been running my whole life – not competitively until middle school, but I’ve loved running ever since I was a little dirty kid racing around the church parking lot. I always played midfield in soccer, and I was one of the few on the volleyball team that didn’t despise running laps.
There are the obvious benefits, like getting in shape, losing weight, and strengthening your heart, but some of my favorite reasons for running are the ones that are a little overlooked:
- Toned legs.
- Bragging rights. People can get annoyed with you if you talk about it all the time, but you still busted out a ton of miles this week and you deserve to be proud of it.
- Not having to do laundry right away because obviously this soaking wet shirt has to hang here until it dries, or else the laundry basket will become rancid.
- Getting to eat all the time without being judged. Scenario: in a meeting at the office. Box of donut holes on the table. People are shifty-eyeing each other as they grab a 3rd or 4th donut hole. I look them all straight in the eye and take 14 all at once. NOM.
- You are in complete control of your own success. None of this nonsense where you work really hard and things still don’t work out. I’m not promising a PR every time you race or eternally evading injury, but no one can deny that a dedicated runner always has some level of success.
- You get out what you put in. Nothing will happen if you do nothing, and wonderful things will happen if you work hard and are consistent. This is great because…
- You can’t blame someone else if you don’t get the results you want; similarly, no one else can claim the success of your hard work.
- Third day hair with some sweat from a short run = THE BEST HAIR. All you need is dry shampoo and a couple blasts from the blow dryer. One of my first posts was about stretching out your hair-washes while running. As long as your dry shampoo has some freshening effect so you don’t stank (try this one), it’s the best way to live as a runner. Third day, sliiightly dirty hair is the best because it looks clean, still moves easily like freshly washed hair, but it’s not staticky like freshly blow dried hair and it actually holds curls. Seriously, it is just such good hair.
- Feeling super hard core after pushing out the last few miles of a hard run. Or even pushing out the last few minutes. Knowing you stuck it out when it things were difficult feels so gooooood.
- Getting to explore parts of your city you never would have discovered before. Example: I finally got to run over a gorgeous bridge that I have driven under like 10 million times. Running gave me the opportunity to see my city from a different perspective. I wrote about that run here.
- Camaraderie with all exercisers out on the trail. Runners, bikers, walkers, roller bladers…everyone is friendly on the trail! We are all enjoying the sweat and the sunshine.
- You get to see so many more dogs than if you didn’t go outside! Old dogs, baby dogs, small dogs, big dogs, (not very many huge dogs because they’re so lazy), fluffy dogs, fat dogs…it is truly a wonderful life.
There are so many reasons to love running. It’s a hard sport – it’s hard more often than not. But it’s so rewarding and even if you start by taking a walk around the block and running for 15 seconds, you can still count yourself a part of the running family!
What are some of your favorite overlooked bonuses from running?