Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Reasons to Run

"I always loved running...it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs." - Jess Owens

I went running today. Nothing unusual in that. I took my 9 month old daughter in her very un-aerodynamic buggy despite been told not to by her mother. Nothing unusual in the latter part of that, but I’d never taken her running with me before.  I knew i wouldn’t get a chance later on in the day, so I decided to go for it. Everything turned out just fine.

Sometimes I just have to run. I’m not particularly quick, and I don’t always go very far but I do love to run. If scientists could come up with some kind of pill that contained all the benefits that running brings into my life then I guess this afternoon would have been the perfect time for me to take it. It would have been far more convenient, taken less effort, and given me a greater amount of  time to get the things done I needed to do.

This pill would have had a lot of work to do though.

It would need to give me lots more energy – I feel so much more alert and alive after I’ve run . If I haven’t been out for a few days I start to feel lethargic and lazy.

It would need to make my head clearer – I always get back feeling better mentally and ready to take on the world once more, the run having blown away all the cobwebs away.  

It would need to give me a sense of  accomplishment – If I’ve had a frustrating day and not really achieved anything I know that if i go for a run,  I’ve done at least one thing that day that’s productive.

It would need to stop me feeling guilty when I indulge – Great for someone with a  sweet tooth like mine. If I have a chocolate bar or ice cream I don’t feel guilty eating it. I’ve earnt it if I've run.

It would need to give me time to think – When I run there are no phones, computers or other  distractions and for a while I'm free to let my mind wander. I find I get lots of my best ideas when I run.

It would need to help me with any angst I have  – Because I feel better, I view any problems I have with a bit more perspective when I’ve run. I always feel more relaxed when I get back and in a better place to deal with them.

It would need to encourage me to explore and find new places – You see the world from a different perspective when you run. You go down different paths and you're much more aware of your surroundings than when you're in a car. I notice things I've never noticed before and discover new routes occasionally that i never new existed before.

Finally, obviously this wonder pill would also  need to keep me fit and healthy.

Quite a lot to ask of a pill I think, and as much as it would have been convenient today it  just would not have been the same as actually lacing up my shoes and getting out. Running is all about the the sweat, the rain in your face, the pain, the hills, the mud, the barking dogs and the mind games you play with yourself en route. It's one of those things in life that you truly  get back from it what you put into it. That’s why I love it and that's why i hope to keep on finding opportunities to run for a long time to come.


  1. Hi Mark - What a great article about you and Eden jogging together! - I bet she will love reading it when she is older. - You're a Dad of many talents. - Paul Powers

  2. Thanks Paul, Eden seemed to enjoy watching the world go back a little bit faster than usual. There's a great cycle path near us which is ideal for pushing a buggy along. I'll certainly be taking her out again.

  3. Hi Mark,

    I started running only a few years ago (I'm 47) in order to loose a bit of weight and it changed my life. It was hard at first and took a while for me to get away from the treadmill and find the confidence to go outside but i'm so glad i did. I lost just over 2 stone in about 8 months (I also changed my diet) and as a result I not only looked better but I also felt much better about myself. Since i started i can't stop now and I'm going to enter my first 10K race next spring!

  4. Thanks for your comment Michelle, it's great to hear the positive effect running has had on your life. Best of luck with the 10K, i'm sure you will enjoy it. I haven't done that many organised runs recently.In the past when i did it was always nice to be part of a big event and it's great to have a goal like that to train towards.

  5. Grat post, especially the list of all the things that running does for you. I've just started running too and it does seem to help keep everything in perspective. The stresses don't seem so stressful on the days I can run. I never had the courage to run with a buggy, but now we're past that stage, I have no reason not to do it and many reasons to do it.

  6. Great post, of course. Trying to type too fast!

  7. Gosh you make running sound so fantastic I might just have to try it! I actually ran this morning, and you are right, the more you do it, the easier it gets, and the more of a buzz you get. It also makes you crave healthier food! What drug could ever do all that?? (Found you on Love New Blogs btw)

  8. Thanks for the comments

    PollyBurns2 - It took a bit of courage to run with the buggy, I did get a few odd looks but who cares it was fun.

    Actually Mummy - I have to be honest and say i never find that i crave healthier food, just all the food i know i shouldn't eat too much of beacuse i feel i've earnt it. I know i should crave healthier food but it's not the thought of that which keeps me going.

  9. Great post and glad you enjoyed your run with your DD. I too love to run but the treadmill in front of TV is my choice *embarrassed*!

  10. One of the best books I ever read about the benefits of running and other physical activity is Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey. It made a believer out of me :)