Why I Run- Version 2.0

My very first blog post was titled, “Why I Run,” and you can read it here. It’s a quick read and pretty basic. I recently started thinking about this question more in-depth. Sure, I run because I enjoy it and how I feel when I’m running, but I think running is more complicated than that.

As I mentioned in my first post, I’ve been running pretty much since I was a young child. Unlike my parents and older brother, I loved running, riding my bike, and swimming. Long story short of why I’m not and will probably never be a triathlete, I taught myself to swim as a kid and can actually swim half-decently in the sense of moving from one place to another but my form is terrible.

Still, as much as I enjoy swimming and cycling, these sports aren’t my true loves. Running always has been and probably always will be my first choice of activity. Although I may not always feel in the mood to run when I start, I almost always finish feeling better than when I started.

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Running in the Canary Islands

One thing I love about running are all of the health benefits. Contrary to popular belief by non-runners, running is not “bad for your knees.” In multiple studies, they’ve found that the average runner has lower incidence of osteoarthritis in their knees (and other joints). Runners also have lower incidence of a multitude of diseases and other health issues such as obesity, heart disease, multiple types of cancers, stroke, diabetes, dementia, depression, and the list goes on.

Sure, runners sometimes get injured and if enough time isn’t taken off running to let the area fully heal, that can lead to long-term problems like arthritis for example. However, I would argue that it wasn’t simply running that lead to the long-term complications, but the fact that the person was running when they shouldn’t have. This could happen with any sport, such as “tennis elbow” with a tennis player leading to more complications later in life if they don’t let their bodies heal.

Fortunately, I haven’t had many major running injuries and only once in my life had to deal with iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). Once I figured out what I needed to do (mainly stretch and use a foam roller regularly), that ugly little problem never reared its head again.

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Half marathon in Colorado- one of my toughest because of elevation!

So with no real major running injuries to speak of, I’ve seen multiple benefits to my health. All I have to do is look around at other people my age and hear about all of the health issues they’re going through to know what an advantage running has given me for my health. Most of these people I’m referring to are overweight, so honestly if they would lose the extra weight, many of their health problems would go away and they wouldn’t even have to ever run as long as they lead a healthy active lifestyle. I’m not one of those people that thinks everyone should run; just because I choose to run doesn’t mean I think everyone else should run as well. I always say whatever activity that will get your heart rate up and you enjoy doing is the one that’s best for you.

Running has also shown me and my family many parts of the United States we most likely would never have seen otherwise. By having the goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the United States, we’ve traveled to some pretty small towns over the years. While there have been some places that we absolutely fell in love with but might not have gone to if not for the races (Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont), there have been a few places that we were not that enamored by (North Dakota, Oklahoma, Mississippi) but were still happy we got the opportunity to go. Overall, there have been more places we’ve loved or at least liked than ones we didn’t care for.

Outside of races, I feel like I must truly love running just to be able to train for the half marathons that I do run. My current half marathon training plan includes runs 5 days a week. I feel like if I didn’t inherently love to run, I would pretty quickly get tired of running that many times a week. Lately I’ve loved checking out new areas to run both around where I live and near where I work as well.

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Checking out new running routes!

Running has shown me some enormous neighborhoods that I drive by every day going to work but never even knew existed until I decided to check out some new running paths. I’ve discovered some greenways and walking trails that go on for several miles in one direction, sometimes connecting with other greenways or trails. Simply by having the attitude of “let’s see where this goes,” I’ve discovered huge areas that I never would have seen if not for running.

It’s no secret I love to travel and whenever possible, I’ll combine my love of travel and exploring new places with running. Over the years some of the most memorable places I’ve run outside the United States were in places like Costa Rica, the Canary Islands, Canada, and Austria. I’ve seen things when running that I would have missed if I would have just driven by it in a car and I’ve often gone back later to explore the area more in-depth.

In summary, I guess I love to run because it helps keep me healthy and it helps show me the world, both near and far.

Why do you run?

Happy running!

Donna

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Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

11 thoughts on “Why I Run- Version 2.0”

  1. Nice to hear someone else has always loved running! Also I think part of the “running causes injuries” deal is just because if a runner gets injured you’re more likely to hear them be upset about it than a non-active person. So it just seems like we are injured more bc we complain about it more 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved the picture of you running in the Canary Islands. That place is on my list of places I must visit, too. Running has been such a big positive force in my life. I can’t imagine not doing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That is so cool that running has taken you to so many places! I know that I now continue running on my holidays because I see so much more of an area when I run it than I would otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree on every point.
    I do have right knee damage but it was because I had a slight foot deformity that gave me a bad stride. Having said that, I would not have done anything different. I did a lot of 10Ks, also 10-milers in the early days, and a couple marathons. I am in my mid-70s, still walk a lot, and am much more fit than the men I went to school with — except for one. He is still running.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I don’t do distance running, just sprinting. Which, as you know, is quite a bit different.

    The primary reason I run sprints is for health. I wouldn’t say that I like sprinting for its own sake per say.

    There are two things I like about it. One, it can be exhilarating pushing my body to go “all out”. My body feels significantly different sprinting than it does when doing any other activity.

    Two, I listen to music when I’m sprinting. I’ve always loved music, but I don’t listen to it a ton these days. So it’s actually a bit of a treat to run sprints and listen to music. I some times find myself looking forward to running just to hear some tunes!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with all your points made regarding health. My dad often tells other runners that running saved his life. Despite being active at work and of thin build, his family genetics make him prone to high cholesterol. He began running when I joined the cross country team in high school so that I wouldn’t have to run alone. During his training for his first marathon he complained at times of chest pain to a running buddy who encouraged him to see a doctor. He had a 90% blockage which was fixed by a stent. Had he never taken up running he likely could’ve had a heart attack as he never felt any chest pain besides when he ran over 8 miles.

    I admire your dedication to running 5 days a week. I can’t commit to that as I like to throw in DailyBurn workouts for variety as well as coaching limits my schedule that sometimes if I get in 2 runs a week during the season I’m lucky.

    I run to stay out of counseling… haha. In all seriousness though it is a sanity saver for me among just purely enjoying the sport as well as the camaraderie among runners. I love hearing others’ running stories and reading about their adventures on blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s crazy about your dad. I’m glad he listened to his friend and went to the doctor in time for everything to work out.
      Running is definitely a sanity saver. It’s great for clearing my head when I need to think about something or just get something off my mind as well.
      I also love hearing other runners’stories and getting tips from them.

      Like

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