I have “officially” been a runner since my senior year of college at Western Michigan University when my roommate convinced me to sign up for a training team and train for a half marathon. That was 14 years ago. Gulp. Over those 14 years, there have been many ups and downs, and a considerable amount of “time off” as I adjusted to life as a wife, a teacher, and new mom (twice!). But throughout all of that, running has taught me many things. Here are four of them!
1. Running takes you places.
These are the places that I’ve traveled to for races! As I get older, I’m finding that I want to run more and more destination races. I catch myself surfing the web in hopes of finding the perfect trail race in the perfect location for a family vacation. That’s a win/win situation, right?! Our last family vacation was to Pictured Rocks in Michigan’s beautiful upper peninsula. It was amazing! And a few hours of my trip were spent running the Grand Island Trail marathon 🙂
The boys fished, and I ran. The perfect family vacation!
2. Running is the best therapy.
Whether you need a time out from work, bills, kids, laundry, dishes, pets, sickness, or any other kind of stress…running is the perfect break. Scientifically speaking, it releases chemicals in your brain that fight off depression and anxiety. Sa-weet! And studies have shown that running leads to increased quality in sleep, mood, and concentration! All of those things sound pretty great to me. But, even if there weren’t official studies out there to tell me this, I would still believe it to be true. When I’m getting my workouts in regularly, everything just feels better. When I’m off from a normal routine, I’m more stressed out, less organized, and just flat out crabby.
Just look at these faces! PURE HAPPINESS!!
3. Running keeps me healthy and confident.
I can’t count the number of times that people have told me that all of these miles I’m running are going to wear out my knees, and that I’m going to regret all of this when I’m older. But honestly, the people I know that have the worst knees are NOT runners. In fact, they don’t do much of anything. And, not doing much of anything leads to weight gain, which leads to sore muscles and joints from having to carry around that extra weight.
What I’ve found is that running helps me to have a healthy weight. And a healthy weight helps me to have a positive body image, which leads me to having confidence!
Besides my own experience with this, research has shown that running actually strengthens your knees, as well as your other joints and your bones! It also reduces your risk of cancer, and drastically slows normal “mental decline” that comes with aging! Ya, running is pretty great.
4. Running always gives me something to work for and look forward to.
For me, running always leaves me with a goal that I’m working towards. I am almost always signed up for a race and following a training plan.
That is what works for me. I need to have something that I’m looking forward to and working at achieving. It helps me develop into a stronger person and keeps me focused and driven. Obviously, I have LOTS of other things to focus on in my life, like being a good mom, wife, and educator. But running, running is just for ME. And it allows me to be the best version of myself in every single one of those roles.
Those are just a few of the things I’ve learned about running over the last 14 years. Here’s hoping these knees have at least 14 more years in them!! 😉
Sparkle.Pounce.Love the Run.