In an age of fast food and faster technology, an increasing number of people are taking up sports in an attempt to keep both their minds and bodies healthy. At the forefront of this gradual sporting revolution, running has become increasingly popular for its sheer simplicity; at its most basic it requires nothing more than a pair of trainers (a.k.a. sneakers) and a willing mind.
With over 570 marathons now run in the US every year, the sport has reached a wider audience and that audience is reaping the rewards. You don’t have to run four-minute miles or win marathons to enjoy the runners high that has hooked so many. For some, the endless miles and ceaseless pounding of pavement sounds like unimaginable torture. Yet, in every aspect of life, there are so many benefits to running that go beyond mere fitness or track success.
Running is for everyone
Any running event, be it a club race or a international marathon, will demonstrate that it is emphatically a sport that does not discriminate or inhibit participation. Whatever your color, creed, gender, or age, anyone and everyone is capable of taking up running. No matter if your best is a five-minute jog around the block or a sub-three-hour marathon, every runner is bound by the same characteristics. It is this universal appeal that has inspired so many to take up the sport, even in the later stages of life.
Running can teach vital life lessons
In half marathons, as in life, there will always be challenges to conquer and obstacles to defeat. The satisfaction of overcoming a third-mile stitch or obliterating your personal best on a wet, unforgiving course is something that will always stay with you and assert itself in any moment of adversity. Discipline, determination, and perseverance are qualities ingrained in any runner who has faced injury, fatigue, or adverse conditions. It is these qualities that are so invaluable in facing down the problems of everyday life, in equipping runners to deal with any range of difficulties they may face.
Running is an experience to share
Running in all its forms can be an inherently social experience. Whether you sign up to a race or just want get in to shape, doing so with friends makes each triumph and tribulation more meaningful. While it is possible to run alone, to do so would be to miss out on the camaraderie of running clubs and the friendly rivalry that can push you to greater achievements. Being able to train and share experiences as you work towards the same goal can transform the pain of exercise into an enjoyable, social activity.
Running can solve even the toughest of problems
It’s long been accepted that running is a wonderful way of boosting endorphins and relieving stress. After a tough day, there is no greater feeling than slipping on some trainers and stepping away from the stresses and strains of everyday life, offering a clearer, sharper view of life. Regular training will offer significant health boosts and in time allow you to approach obstacles in your life with greater clarity and energy. If, like myself, you often struggle for that bit of energy to complete those dreaded chores, then running can be a wonderful way to discover extra enthusiasm and inspiration.
Running is what you make it
One of the great pleasures of running is that no run ever has to be the same. There is always a new path to follow, a new route to explore and a new challenge to overcome. Whether you’re on holiday in an exotic country or settling into a new home in unfamiliar surroundings, running is a simple but enjoyable way of getting to know the local area without relying on noisy cars or tourist guides. Beaches, parks, and forests are beautiful settings for both novice and seasoned runners, and can also hone crucial navigational skills in a manner most enjoyable.
What keeps you running?