1. Endorphins. This is the the primary reason running makes me so happy. I mean, it’s scientific fact. Running gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy and people generally are a fan of things which make them feel good, right? Seriously though, running massively improves my mood, particularly if I’m in a bad one. Argument with a family member? Bad day at the office? Throw on some trainers and run away from your problems, literally and metaphorically speaking, at least for a while. The long and short of it is, I’m happier person when I’m regularly running.
2. Space to think. About everything at once, or nothing at all. I have some of my best ideas when I’m out running. I have built plans for the future, found resolutions to seemingly unsolvable problems, and figured out what to buy my boyfriend for this birthday. Whilst on a run tends to be when I’m at my most inspired. Alternatively running can also be a great time to let everything go and let problems slip away whilst you focus your full attention on your breathing and putting one foot in front of the other.
3. Fresh Air. Confession time: I am not a morning person (understatement of the century) and it is an incredibly infrequent occasion that I manage to drag myself out of bed to carry out any form of physical activity before work. Now, I can’t pretend I’m a massive fan of Britain’s bitterly cold and continually drizzly winters either, or that it always fills me with great joy to go out for a post 7pm dark, damp, and windy weekday run. However, the hardest part of the battle is braving the elements and putting that first foot outside the front door. 5-6 minutes later, a kilometre or so into my run and I’ve found my stride. Rain in my face, wind in my hair, but I’m happy, I’m outside. I feel free. I feel alive.
4. Sweat. This one is a little gross (sorry) and refers more to running indoors on the treadmill or on a particularly hot summer’s day. I put myself through the ardour of treadmill running on a regular basis, sometimes for interval training and sometimes because a sadistic part of me loves the mental battle against the mind-numbing boredom. What I love most about treadmill running though is that when you’ve had a good workout, you know you’ve had a good work out. By the end of 10k I’m covered in sweat. And nothing says ‘good workout’ like being puce in the face whilst droplets of perspiration drip down your back. (Sorry sorry.)
5. I’ve seen my city in a new light. I’ve lived in London for over 6 years now and occupied this little corner of NW6 for slightly over 4 of them, so I thought I knew not only the surrounding area, but this city pretty well in general. However, every time I go out for a run, I notice something different, even in the streets closest to my house. London is beautiful, and running has taught me to appreciate that at all times of year; blossoming in the Spring, gleaming in the summer sun, shedding in the Autumn, and glistening after a cold frost. I’ve had the pleasure of running in several other cities too, which is something of which I’d like to do more. It’s always comforting to me that no matter how much the scenery changes, the running always stays the same.
6. Running let’s me eat what I want. In fact, running has probably made me eat more. I’m a small girl with a relatively small appetite who, in all honesty, used to find it only too easy to go without breakfast, or convince herself that a can of soup was an acceptable main meal. These days, I’m packing away those carbs. Any excuse for a large bowl of pasta, am I right?
7. I love running clothes. I really do. Running kit and/or gym gear is the comfiest clothing ever, and these days it is pretty much what I live in outside of work. I have workout clothes for running, workout clothes for other types of exercise, workout clothes for slobbing about at home, and workout clothes to go outside and run errands in whilst pretending that I have, in the not too dim and distant past, been working out, when really I’ve only just dragged myself out of bed. And let me tell you, my collection of colourful leggings is pretty spectacular.
8. Health benefits. Obviously, there are a whole range of health benefits that come from running, or indeed any sort of high intensity exercise. As someone who suffers from mild anxiety running plays a huge part in helping me de-stress. Running has also given me a better understanding of, and helped me develop more control over my breathing. It also helps strengthen the core, improving posture and building muscle. I can also confirm that, courtesy of running, my stomach is flatter and my legs more toned. The health benefits of running really are numerous, these are just a few which appeal to me the most.
9. The harder I try, the better I get. As simple as that. And I’m just not sure the same can be said about any other area of my life. When it comes to running, whilst practise doesn’t make perfect? (Because what is perfect in sport really? You can always strive for something more.) Practise does make me better. Improvement is not always rapid. Sometimes it’s frustrating and training can be hard., but do enough training and you’ll get there, eventually.
10. Mental resilience. This echoes back to my last post. Running has taught me so much. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve already broken through boundaries I never thought possible. I keep proving to myself time and time again that I can do anything I want to, I just need to believe in my abilities. Thanks to running I’m more confident, more determined and always up for a challenge!
…But the thing that makes me happiest of all? MEDALS! (Just kidding) (Sort of).