Do you have a favorite place to go running, I do! I ran around my long run loop along the Schuylkill (I still have to look that word up every time!)River. A lot of people hate running there for various reasons, one of which is the congestion during the nice days. To me this is one of the best things about it; seeing everyone out there enjoying being outdoors, and pushing themselves towards their own personal goals.
I often want to say “Great Job!” or “Keep it up” to the people out there struggling, but I refrain as I do not want to come across as patronizing. I have talked to a few friends about this who say that it definitely would come across that way, even though they know I mean it genuinely.
Last weekend was the inaugural Philadelphia Love Run; a half marathon around the city, followed by an out and back on Martin Luther King Drive. As I ran on the sidewalk alongside the runners, I was once again reminded why our sport is so special. Even in the pouring rain, the support and love was all around, and it really made me think about how running really is the best sport of all, and here is why:
1. What you put in, is what you get out. If you are prepared to put in the time, hard work, and effort to do “the little things” to be the best you can be, you really will get the results you deserve. It may take some time, but you WILL get there.
2. You can do it anywhere, anytime, any place (okay, there are some parts of Philadelphia where I would not be comfortable running at night, but you get the point).
You do not need expensive equipment or apparel to run; all you need is a pair of running shoes, and you are off……well, I wouldn’t recommend running in jeans, but to each their own 🙂
3. If someone is having a bad day, fans support them, and encourage them to keep going. Think about it, in other sports, if one of the players is struggling, their “fans” yell at them to get their act together, even sometimes claiming they could do a better job themselves. In running, fans and supporters will cheer you on every step of the way. The more you are struggling, the more encouragement you get….I experienced this firsthand in my debut marathon.
4. It is a sport of ups and downs, but each serves its purpose. Those down times make you truly appreciate when everything is going right, and the ups bring such an incredible elation that they make the downs worthwhile.
5. There will always be another race. It is not like other sports where once you leave college, you are lucky if you ever get the opportunity to play again. There are races in bigger cities almost every weekend, and you will always have the opportunity to find a race that suits you!
AND not only are people in the running world wonderful people in general, but many of these races raise thousands of dollars/pounds/lira/euros for great causes, and are there to help those most in need!
6. There is written proof of your best races. The times you run will be yours forever. In other sports there will always be new players coming through, and those who used to play can only rely on their memories, but in running, those times, those medals will ALWAYS be yours to look back on with pride.
7. The wonderful running community! I have met so many wonderful people at races and through the running community online. Everyone is so supportive of one another, and just wants to see others reach their own hopes and dreams. Runners are not judgmental of one another. It does not matter how fast you run, or how long it takes, everyone is just as proud of you for putting yourself out there, and doing the best you can do. There is a reason they say this sport is every other sports punishment; it is tough, and we are making ourselves stronger every time we put one foot in front of the other.
8. You learn new routes, new parts of town, and see some beautiful scenes you would never discover otherwise. Would you walk four miles to see a beautiful outlook, and then walk four miles back? No, me neither. With running you can travel further than you think, and see the beauty of nature more than anyone else as you are moving at a speed that allows you to take it all in.
9. Anyone can build up to achieve things they never would have believed they could. My sister is a great example of this. She was never a runner, hated it in fact, but last summer she trained so hard, did everything she needed to do, and ran a 10k in memory of our Grandma (and to raise money for the Stroke Association). When she started training, she could not run more than 10 minutes. Two months later, she ran the entire thing, every step! Was so proud of her!
People often ask me how I am able to run the miles I am, well it is all about consistently, slowly building up over time. When people run their first marathon, they would never have believed they could run 26.2 miles on day 1, but they do! Back to point #1, if you are willing to put in the time, you can do ANYTHING!
10. Last, but certainly not least; the health benefits! Runners world recently posted a great article on the major benefits, and concluded that “Studies have shown that running can help prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, some cancers, and a host of other unpleasant conditions.” Need more reasons? Here are just a few:
- Increased HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)
- Decreases in body fat, while helping to maintain a healthy weight….and you keep burning calories for hours after too
- More effective use of oxygen around the body
- Stronger heart with an increase in stroke volume (able to pump more blood around with every beat)
- Muscles are more efficient
- Makes you happier through the secretion of feel good hormones and endorphins
- Helps prevent the risk of depression, and reduces anxiety
- Strengthens your bones and joints from the weight bearing activity, to reduce the risk of osteoporosis as you age
- Keeps your cognitive function (a sharp mind)
- It adds years to your life……well, if that isn’t enough of a motivator, I don’t know what is 🙂
Oh, and just in case you needed even more solid evidence, an article called Training For A Marathon Doesn’t Just Make You Awesome — It’s Good For Your Heart was released by Huffington Post on Sunday.
Do you agree? What are your favorite things about running? Where was your most scenic run?
I thought this would be a great post to add to Amanda’s Thinking Out Loud Thursday, thanks for hosting 🙂