Why Do People Run & Continue Running?

Filed under :Exercise, Health promoting, Run Club

“I run because it makes me feel refreshed and gives me a sense of accomplishment.”  This is the answer I give when someone asks me “Why do you run to exhaustion?” and “Why go through the agony of long distance running?”

I believe that we are all runners by nature (check out my previous post ).  Some of us were lucky enough to discover this at one point in our lives.  The other group of “non-runners” (for now) didn’t have the opportunity to experience the thrill of long distance running and therefore may not be as understanding and, even worse, may criticize the runners.  This may be due to ignorance, lack of understanding, or lack of experience.

Before I started my “running journey” I couldn’t understand runners myself.  I didn’t criticize; I was just unfamiliar with the experience and maybe even a bit jealous of the runners out there.  I was too afraid to try it.  Back then, I didn’t discover yet the fact that we are born to run.  Then, one day I ran and I understood it (just like that!).  Today, I try to help others understand what I did.  I love motivating others to run and help people realize their true running potentials. 

It doesn’t matter if you run 1/2 mile or 10 miles – you still accomplish something great.  If you ask an endurance runner for the reason they run they will have more than one answer for you.  People that do not yet grasp the reason for running, criticize running, or want to get inspired to start running need to begin understanding the concept of running and realize that it’s more than just going outside and getting a workout.  Almost like in yoga – you need to deepen your practice and this may come with time.

It can take a few runs, or maybe a few years to find that feeling that pushes you to run, that makes you forget the “exhaustion and agony of running”, that makes you go further and makes you want to participate in running and racing events and just makes you want run for yourself.

Once you realize your running potential and experience the exhilaration of the sport – you will be a changed person. Next time somebody asks you with a shocking expression, “Why would you run a marathon? That’s crazy!” you will have an answer and a smile on your face.

I asked around a few runners for their reason to run over and over again:

“I run because it makes me feel young and happy.”

“…Reduce stress and stay in great shape.”

“…For the thrill and accomplishment.”

“I participate in running events to help raise money for charities and cross that finish line.”

“I used to have bad lifestyle habits, I needed the discipline and a new addiction, running was the answer and I’ve never looked back.”

Feel free to share your reason for running and help inspire others!

Born To Be This Way…

Filed under :Exercise, Health promoting, Run Club

Humans were born to be physically active.  Biologists today suggest that the human species is an endurance predator.  Hundreds of thousands of years ago we were in constant motion, since then our genes didn’t change much but our lifestyle did.  Bernd Heinrich, is a biologist and an author of the book “What Animals Can Teach Us about Running and Life,” described how our human ancestors were hunting antelopes by driving them to exhaustion.  Although, antelopes may seem as very fast animals, they are sprinters; while our metabolism allows us to keep going (therefore, we are capable of completing very long runs).

Nowadays, we do not have to hunt or run away for our safety.  This lack of activity is disrupting to our biology – physically and mentally.  We have to activate our endurance metabolism to keep our bodies and brain in optimum.  This doesn’t mean that you have to run 10 miles a day, this simply means that you should start moving, walking, jogging, or doing any physical activity that you enjoy (varying in intensity on different days of the week).

There are many misconceptions about running or doing vigorous physical activity (70-90% of your HR). The main one is – cause of injuries (especially joint or knee injuries).  The reality is that injury doesn’t always have to do with: intensity, duration, or frequency.  Injury just happens.  It’s possible to try to prevent it with appropriate measures and reduce its severity.  Overuse injuries are the most common ones and can be prevented by allowing sufficient recovery time between workout periods.  In reality, your body gets stronger with exercise.  Your bones, muscles and joints become more resistant to injury with more physical activity.  Your knees are not like car tires that run out at a certain point; they are capable of repairing and building on new tissue to become ever stronger.  Think about it this way; you can see your muscles get toned and become stronger with exercise.  You can’t see your bones or joins, or the chemical processes in your brain, but as your muscles tone up, all of these other part of your body do so as well.  When you are being physically active, your whole body participates in the positive changing process.

We may be born to run, but we are also programmed to take advantage of plentiful periods and conserve energy.  Food is usually not far from hand, about several steps to the fridge.  Therefore it is important to make an extra step to incorporate some physical activity into our lifestyles.  Making goals, workout schedules, signing up for group fitness or various races is a great way to stay committed!

You were born to be physically active, push yourself, and see how much you are capable of!



Running Distance

Filed under :Exercise, Run Club

I always believed that running as a physical activity is mainly a “mental” sport (I would say 90% mental while 10% is physical). What I mean by this is that if you can: sustain your mental endurance, avoid getting bored and know how to push yourself – running will come easy to you.

For a person that never tried running before (besides gym class or a treadmill) the most challenging thing is to start. When you try to run for the first time; your distance might be short, you might not know the right pacing (to sustain your run for a long distance). This may get some people frustrated, people tend to avoid frustrating things, therefore decide not to do it again. After all, you should not give up! It’s ok to start for only a short distance, with small strides, slowly – see where your comfort zone is, learn your body. Once you know the right pacing for you, you can increase your distance (again gradually). Keep your runs consistent, make a schedule for the days ahead (that way you are more likely to follow it), keep a running log, and map your miles.

Once you overcome all the obvious obstacles and stop the excuses you will actually start enjoying it. You will begin feeling the joy of accomplishment, the great feeling of improvement, and of course the chemical and physical consequences of your body while running and the “after high”.

I did this all upside down. I was very physically active in all different kinds of activities from cycling to martial arts, but I avoided running. I was basically scared of it, due to some past experiences in gym classes. Then last summer I ran my first 10K race! Without any training or running experience – that was the day I fell in love with running! I was forced to do it, to finish the race, and when I was done, the feeling was amazing.

Whether your goal is to lose weight, get in a better shape, or reduce stress – running will get you there. Here are some tips from my own running experience: stay consistent with your training, get some good music on your MP3 player, keep changing your running paths to keep it interesting, don’t focus on “running” while running, find something fun or smart to think about, keep yourself motivated by telling yourself how good it will feel after the run, fuel your body right and keep hydrated, and sign up for a short (5K) or longer (10K) race which will keep you motivated.