Why Run?

Posted by Beth Hartman

There are two types of people in this world. Those who run and those who do not.

Running is not the separation between the gym rats and the couch potatoes. It does not divide the big from the small. You will never get a “That Look” from someone when you participate in a run like you sometimes will when you go to a gym.

Running has grown to be, somewhat, of a multipurpose activity for all ages, sizes, and abilities. An activity of bragging rights, discussion topics at the bar and even one that drives relationships.

The oddest fact about running is that most people hate it.
Love it or hate it, people will line up at starting lines all over the country this year participating in various races, be it a 5K, a walk/run benefit, city marathons or the big stage marathons like the Boston and New York. There must be something that drives all those people to run on their own free will.

Why do people run?
Losing weight tends to be the most common answer to the aforementioned question. Running is the cheapest and most accessible way to lose the pounds. It is also something each of us can track on a regular basis against ourselves. Much like the game of golf, we are constantly striving to beat our last score,, in a runners case a better time/distance.

Bill Stanton, the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Myrtle Beach Marathon as well as a 30-year veteran runner, says that running is so simplistic that anyone can do it. There is little to no cost and you can do it anywhere at any time.

Efficiently burning calories to the tune of an average of 100 calories per mile for a 150-pound person, running can be very effective. The real weight loss “magic” is increasing your resting metabolism by building muscle mass. Which means you will burn more calories at rest as a runner than you will as a non-runner.

You also need to track your time and performance during your runs. One way to do that is by investing in a Running Watch like the newly released Polar M600, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT or the Forerunner 235 which not only give GPS Pace, but these models will track your activity all day and all night long. The number of steps you’ve taken, calories burned, the distance you’ve traveled (which is impt. for a runner). And you won’t miss an impt. call or email cause the Alta has smart notifications as well. It’s a great companion to have with you when your by yourself on that open road!

Eating Right to Fuel Your Body.
Experts say that a post run snack is essential, but should not exceed 150 calories. Refuel the body, not over feed the stomach.

Running is not considered a cure-all, but, rather, a single piece of the health puzzle. There are many benefits that can be attributed to embracing a running lifestyle and that can be the subject for another post. Right now we want to mention the reasons why people just run.

Stanton reminds us that running is a sport and one that should not be taken for granted. He encourages beginners to ease into it, get doctors’ advice so that you can start your program with a clear conscious and not have to worry about hurting yourself by embracing the sport.

Running, especially long distance, is a taxing activity and should have medical clearance before you lace up and tear off into the street. Depending upon your physical condition and weight loss goals, a slow start may be more productive. If you can couple it with some healthy eating habits and overall health plan, you are in a much better position for success. Your doctor can help you with this and there are numerous websites and articles of information on the best way to fuel your body so it is ready to perform at its best for you. You never want to embark on any exercise regimen without consuming the proper food and in the right quantity. If one of your goals is to lose weight running, you will only be doing yourself a dis-service and possible harm if you think cutting back on your food intake is the way to go.

Let’s Get High
There is a pill for everything these days. Instead of opting to line up at the local pharmacy, or worse, making a purchase on-line from the many self-help motivators you will be better off just going about your running program the natural way, start out with small runs and work your way up to ½ mile, mile, 5K runs and then the sky’s the limit. There are many advocates out there that think and have proven that the benefits of a healthy attitude can be associated by a healthy amount of exercise and the proven release of endorphins that takes place while running can lend credence to that fact! Many studies think that running does the work of those little pills.

Running, and exercising, in general, has been shown to reduce stress, relieve mild depression and lower anxiety. Commonly known as “runners high”, the release of endorphins into the brain can create a euphoric, calm and, well, a high sensation.

Granted you cannot just jog a few steps and feel the buzz. In fact, there is no scientific proof regarding how long, how far or how often “runners high” occurs. It kicks in at different moments for each run with an array of variables to blame. Most runners still dismiss it as simply “feeling good”. A calm sense of happiness that lasts a few minutes or a few hours. Each runner experiences it a bit differently but all agree, once you are at that stage of the run, things just seem to click and you are moving smoothly.

Most people use this time as the only time they get to unplug from everything going on in their active lives and just exist for a bit in that running state of mind. It’s that improving your body feeling while running and getting it moving while unplugging yourself from our technology-saturated world that helps you in dealing better with life’s every day happenings.
No psychologist or doctor on the earth would prescribe running to cure any mental conditions for lack of proof.  Some runners who suffer from these ailments do attest that the exercise reduces the adverse feelings they may experience.

If you believe that the mind and body are connected, it would make sense that getting in shape would have a positive effect on your brain and emotional state. At minimum, you would agree that is would be worth a try if someone were serious about managing their stress or anxiety.

Running has grown to a subculture of positive vibes, support, and interaction. For some, running just provides a peace of mind state that others agree make them feel special about the running family they have joined. Everyone who is running on any particular day is automatically accepted into “the group.” If you start a race, you are, automatically, part of the club.

Unlike other exercise groups, there is not a lot of special lingo, gear or rules that you need to memorize. You can just merge your way into being part of the crowd. Just start running.

Social interaction has grown to be a driving force in sticking to an exercise regimen for many people who just do not get that from the weekly visit to the gym. Group runs, relays, family runs and everything in between have made running very much inclusive where we find many other recreational exercises to be exclusive.

For Corey Chuhaloff, a seven -year competitive runner and a five-year member of the Red Cross Rescue Racers, running is an outlet. Each run is a time for her to “evaluate my busy life.” She says that she runs with friends most of the time and that does not detract from her own personal goals.

Runners, typically, just want other runners to keep going. Unless they are actually racing. The supportive community at the organized events seems to be based on not only inclusion, but education, fellowship and, the sense of "belonging" . Running has truly become a sport for all generations.

Why People Stop Running
We happen to be at the time of year when most people quit working out from their New Year’s resolutions. Runners who set out to hit the mileage marks have, most likely, long since quit.

Running is time-consuming. Unlike those late-night television promises of “lose ten pounds in 30 minutes”, running is a time commitment. At least 30 minutes each run, but most runners have goals that will take over an hour at a time. Not exactly conducive to the busy lifestyle.

Weather is also a big quit factor. It is cold. It is hot. It is windy. It is raining. There are a lot of weather combinations that will keep you inside. Running takes commitment, and possibly some extra clothing, to make it a habit.

Injury is another reason people quit. Stretching and warming up is often over-looked by beginners. It is vitally important. From ankles, hips, knees, shins, feet and muscles, there are a lot of parts that need convincing that running is a good idea.

The “Phoebe-syndrome” is a very real obstacle for some would-be runners. Some people just look funny when they run. Unless you check you’re self-conscious at the door and run anyway, you probably will not enjoy feeling as funny as you look. Which presents another valid reason to quit.

Despite the vast reasons to never run, it would seem that the challenge of distance, possible obstacles and inclement weather are enough to keep us running for the thrill of it.

The drive of runners, whether for self-help improvement or just because they have adopted the sport, offers insights to the addictive qualities of running. As easy as it is to start, it is twice as easy to quit. Passionate runners seem not to have that word in their vocabulary.

If you feel the need to enjoy a breeze, unplug from the stress of work and social life for a bit and just get your mind and body working together, running may be the answer. More and more people are finding that it offers more than just a free t-shirt and a medal. It is a sense of accomplishment. It is a sense of belonging. It is a sense of vitality and sanity.  

So what are you waiting for, lace up those running shoes and experience just what running is all about!

 Finally, we have some great recommendations for Running GPS Watches

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