Have you ever had someone ask you why you are doing something and you have to stop and think of a reason? If you have, you probably aren’t doing that “something” anymore. Without a good “why”, it’s hard to commit ourselves. Motivation easily fades away and we move on to the next thing.
People often ask me, especially now during marathon training, why I run. Most of these people do not run themselves. They want to know why I get up at the crack of dawn to run before I start my day at work or with my family. They wonder why I would ever want to run another marathon, or any race for that matter. I think they think I’m half crazy (and I may very well be!), but I know my “why” and so these questions are easy to answer.
I run to stay sane. I run to have “me” time. I run to be a better Mom. I run to be a better wife. I run to be a better friend. I run to think about what I need to accomplish on any given day. I run for the thrill of it. I run to feel alive as my heart beats on overdrive. I run to push myself. I run to inspire others. I run to achieve goals. I run to feel happy. I run to mourn. I run to maintain my health. I run for those that can’t. I run to feel strong. I run to hear my children giggle and see them smile as I’m pushing them along, the wind in their hair. I run to feel my feet pounding the pavement and the freedom that comes with that. I run to remember ANYTHING is possible. I run to remember I CAN.
When I’m struggling to get out of bed early in the morning for yet another run, I remember my “why”. When my day is chaotic and both of my kids have tantrums at the same time, I remember my “why”. Every time I have a birthday and get one year “younger”, I remember my “why”. When I would love to go out partying with girlfriends until all hours of the morning on a weekend, but can’t because I’ve got another long run to complete, I remember my “why”. When I finish a speed workout and feel unstoppable, I remember my “why”. When I’m at mile 15 out of 20 and my legs are screaming from all the training, I remember my “why”. When I see my Dad lying in a bed unable to get out or walk on his own, I remember my “why”.
The reasons that we run are vast. Each runner is different and in some way, looking to fill a need with each run. The need for speed. The need to get away. The need to feel alive. So I asked fellow runners to fill in the blank: I run because _______. Here are the 49 answers I received.
*I’m not only Mommy, I’m ME!!
*Running is a time saver and I can do it wherever and whenever I want. My true love sports involve specific locations (eg. Hockey), times/teammates, and/or specific equipment (eg. Rowing). As long as I have the proper attire with me, I can go for a run. It gets my need for exercise and endorphins out of the way.
*It makes me feel alive!
*The running community is amazing. I’ve never seen so many people supporting each other at different levels of fitness.
*It started for fitness and became so much more… Alone time, thinking time, feeling accomplishment, closeness to nature…
*I run because doctors have told me I should just give up on running forever.
*Because I like beer and dessert!
*Originally because I had a wake up call from my daughter’s cardiologist after going over our family health history. That was February 2013 and I ran the Cigna road race that year. Now, for continued health and stress relief.
*Because there is nothing like the runners high!
*I run because even though it is hard for me and often I don’t like it in the moment, the sense of strength and accomplishment I feel after a run or race makes me want to try again and again.
*When i first started running, I was in my 20’s and I ran “so I could eat whatever I wanted.” And it worked too! Until it didn’t (it doesn’t anymore sadly!). I’m in my 50’s now, and my reasons have changed over the years. Now I run for both alone time and social time (depending on the day and the run), because it allows me to quite literally “burn off the crazy” and makes me a better mom, employee and human being. I’ve ramped up my racing schedule the last year or so and this has increased my social circle and my enjoyment of the races themselves, which is another huge benefit. I don’t think I’d be the same person without running.
*Freedom. I could go on forever about how running frees me from anxiety. It is the one time in my day I am not just a mother/wife/employee. When I run, I don’t usually have a set route, I just go wherever my legs feel like going. It is true freedom for me!
*I run for so many reasons…because so many can’t run, I’m healthy and need to keep active and moving so I don’t grow old! I also run for peace. When my mom was sick last fall, running kept me sane. It gave me a break from the heartache! After she died I kept running to feel alive.
*I run because at 34 I have been told I am too old to run and should “retire” from the sport! And it is the perfect me time!
*Accomplishment, health and friendship.
*As a kid, sports were a disaster for me. I was the completely uncoordinated, skinny kid who sucked at every sport. I’m not good at running, but when I run I feel graceful and strong. When I run, I outrun all my stress and problems. The only thing that matters is each footfall and the one after. Running for me isn’t just a feeling, it’s a place.
*Health, happiness, sanity, me time, accomplishment, strength, friendship…The list could go on. It’s always been my go-to exercise for stress relief too.
*Me time, sanity, a break, therapy, feeling proud of myself, making friends.
*I run because endorphins are better than anxiety. Running keeps my anxiety away and everything I’m fretting about is gone once my run is done.
*To burn off the CRAZY!
*I run to show my daughter that strong is beautiful.
*I run so I can drink and eat! And I feel fantastic after I’ve run a few miles!
*I run because it gives me some time to think and de-stress, some mommy alone time, and it makes me feel strong!
*I run because it makes me feel healthier, happier and I just find that it makes me keep pushing myself to get better and better…to accomplish.
*I run as my therapy, to keep me healthy, to enjoy nature, and of course for the fun with friends!
*It makes me a better person. It is both time for myself that keeps me healthy and sane, and I believe so passionately in my daughters seeing me strong and healthy. I do it as much for them as for myself.
*I’ve been asked how its possible for me to run without balance nerves. Someone said, “if that’s true you wouldn’t be walking either.”
*At first it was to lose baby weight, and then it became something I enjoyed. But “why” for me has a lot to do with my mom passing away. The morning after she died I ran and I’ll never forget that run. It wasn’t special at all, but ever since, running has reminded me that I’m alive and that I’m a part of the world and we are all connected. It keeps me feeling close to her as she loved nature – and she knew how to push through and always keep moving forward. There’s a feeling I get when running that makes me feel she’s not so far away.
*I run because it clears my mind of absolutely everything that went on that day. It’s just me, the pavement, and my tunes.
*I run because it is about me at that time. No work emails, no one asking where something is or can you get something. I don’t worry about anything but myself.
*It makes me feel amazing! I love the endorphin rush and time to chat with my running buddies who have all become such great friends.
*It’s an escape from reality
*Because there are so many things in my life that I can’t control. I can control my running.
*I run because I am trying to outrun the unhealthy life I used to live. I run because it’s the best therapist I’ve ever had. I run because I found myself after I started, when I was so lost before. I run because it’s helped me drop over a hundred pounds. I run because I like the new, healthier me. I run to put those years of smoking behind me. I run because I’ve met so many wonderful people. I run to inspire. I run because others have inspired me. I run because even my worst run is still better than nothing at all….
*For my sanity and my health!
*I feel free!
*I’m too uncoordinated for step or Zumba classes… It’s my alone time to think … It makes me feel good… My dedication, healthy lifestyle and taking time for me sets a good example for my children.
*I run because it makes me feel great!! I’ve been running for many many years. When I don’t run, I don’t feel good!!
*For peace of mind! The freedom it provides when it’s just you and the open road. It holds you accountable and nobody else. Last but not least, the wonderful community of support and encouragement!
*I’m running to lose weight, for the feel good chemicals, and beer!
*I run because I can and so many others can’t.
*Because my staff like me better when I run before work.
*Because I finally know how!
*To stay healthy and relieve stress!
*I still can! At 55, every running day is a gift!
So, why do you run?