For me personally there are several reasons. The first and most obvious – is to try to be in some sort of decent shape, and to (eventually) look good when I go swimming with no shirt! By running I can still work toward this goal while not feeling any guilt at all from eating Swiss Rolls and Nutty Bars. (I love nutty bars…) Weight can be controlled simply through diet if that is the only goal. Lets face it though, if that was the only reason, I wouldn’t be out there running, or miss doing so when I have pulled my calf muscle (Again.)
There is also the sense of accomplishment in completing a run. People may look at you crazy that you chose to go out and run 10 miles (heck – they look at you crazy for THREE miles), but when you finish it you know you have done something you set out to do that others can’t/won’t. When you look at your weekly mileage of 20, 30, 40 or more miles – you can’t help but smile. When seeing the monthly – or ongoing total from your GPS Program (892 miles)? It just seems unreal.
When running a road (or trail I imagine) race, seeing the other runners out there and being part of it. As you pass people cheering (or in the case of the Boilermaker and some of the larger races – Bands, comedians, etc) you are very aware of what you are doing (not in an OMG way!) And that feeling when crossing the finish line knowing you have just done a 5k/10k/15k (or more I’m sure – I just haven’t done “more” yet) is one of the greatest senses of accomplishment you ever get to feel. For me, that is also not enough on its own.
With Childhood Obesity at an all-time high in America (17% – 3X higher than the previous generation) – it is an epidemic our country is facing, and not handling well. My children get to see me go out and run – in addition to my daily time at work, being a dad, cooking dinner, running them to various practices as well as watching TV and playing video games. They get to see that when I say “You can’t just sit and watch TV all day every day” – I am not just SAYING it, but living it. Studies have shown that “Do what I say, not what I do” is NOT an effective parenting strategy. Children learn from what we do, and I want to teach them the best ways to live. Tie in the fact that they (sometimes) run WITH me? And its a fantastic “bonding” experience as well! Now I admit this one SHOULD be enough of a reason on its own. But in the day-to-day hecticness of life – this too isn’t quite enough of a reason on its own.
The “Bucket List” – We all have one in some shape or form. Running the Marine Corps Marathon has been on my bucket list since highschool. So on days that I didn’t want to get out of bed – that goal has either a)gotten me out of bed, or b)made me figure out what time that evening I WOULD go running if I wasn’t going to lose the sleep now.
And last, but not least. Because I can. Because a runner is what I am. Not for any one of these – but for all of them and more.
Why do you run?