The benefits of running…
Of course there are many documented benefits to running. (I won’t talk about the possible detriments today…but I know they are there too. I’m spending lots of free time reading and investigating, stretching and foam rolling…trying to go about this as pain and injury free as I possibly can)
* 100 calories burned per mile…this happens no matter how fast you are going…so walking burns the same per mile. It’s just that with running, you can do it quicker. In a quick 30 minute run you can burn 300 calories…hello! (That’s assuming you run at a 10 minute pace…I’m usually closer to 11 minutes per mile, still a good burn)
* All those burned calories can translate into serious weight loss…of course, you need to be eating well too…grabbing a big burger and fries following a long run really doesn’t contribute to weight loss.
* Getting your heart pumping
But I’m here to tell you the benefits I get from running…which go far beyond the health benefits for me.
1. Time to myself. Let’s get real. I’m the mom of three young boys. Time to myself is rare. Sure, I get time to myself when they are asleep…but come on, that’s not enough. I love my boys incredibly, but I need some me time. With an early morning run I’m not taking time away from them.
2. Mixing up the workout routine. I have been using the gym regularly for many years now. Sometimes you just have to mix it up. I love my yoga, spin class and strength training classes…but throwing running in the mix has really re-invigorated my desire for fitness. Now those classes are supportive players to my running. Yoga helps to stretch out my muscles and relax me. Spin class offers a way to cross-train and continue to build cardio-vascular and leg strength without additional stress on my joints. Strength training…well, it makes me stronger. :) Stronger muscles make for faster runners and runners who can run longer. More muscle also burns more calories…bring it on.
3. Feeling a sense of serious accomplishment. I have never, ever considered myself an athlete before now. I was a dancer/cheerleader in high school. I am not coordinated in sports…and quite honestly, I never had the desire to try much. But for the first time, I feel strong and amazed at how I can push my body towards a goal…and it responds. I’ve said it before: I could NOT run more than 5 minutes on the treadmill before this year. And I considered myself fairly fit. I could bike forever, but the running thing mystified me. Once I put my mind to it and investigated how to do it and how to build myself up…I was so proud of my accomplishments. 3 miles is a regular run for me. I’m building up to where 5 miles is a long run…soon to be 6 miles. That is something tangible for me to be proud of. And I am!
4. Body changes. I started this journey as a side note to my desire to feel different about my body. But I didn’t really expect to see changes this quickly. I believe (and have read often) that 80% of the battle with your body is what you eat. So only 20% of the efforts at the gym are making a difference. But I have to say that this current regimen, which is heavy on the running, is making the most difference ever. And I’m not necessarily talking about the evidence on the scale. The proof is in what I look like in my clothes. I still have a ways to go…but I’m liking the direction we are heading, my body and I.
5. Getting outside more often. Who doesn’t like to enjoy the gift the God has given us outside? Yes, it’s starting to heat up…which means earlier runs are necessary, but there is something about communing with nature in this very real way. I’m lucky enough to live right by a lot of fun multi-use trails…so I can easily pop over to a trail in the middle of a nature preserve or along side a river. It’s great!
7. Social Time! This is probably the best benefit ever. Some of my closest friends are already runners (hence my original peer pressure reason to run…they didn’t pressure me…but I felt left out!), other good friends are embarking on this journey with me. That camaraderie is great. As moms of young children we don’t get a lot of girl time without our kidlets in tow. Now…I’m actually dragging myself out of bed in the morning (I’m NOT a morning person, believe me) to spend uninterrupted chat time with my ‘sole sisters’. Once I realized how those early morning runs gave me guilt free girlfriend time…I was sold!
also from our Memorial Day run…and no, we didn’t plan the matching colors…but neither one of us was willing to change that morning…thank goodness he’s a bit faster than me and we don’t run side by side in our matching shirts…LOL!
8. Hubby time! Yep, I’m getting girlfriend time in…but I’m getting some hubby time too. Granted, we don’t run with each other on a regular basis. But we now have a new thing to chat about together. And like I’ve said before, he’s in sporting goods…so the idea that I’m being sporty really speaks to him. The time that has been really special is picking out a new goal together (like the first two 5ks we did and our 10k coming in September) and then having my amazing parents watch our boys overnight so we can run together. We get a date night, a kid less house for the night, a morning run (together more or less) and then the afternoon together reveling in our accomplishment. It’s been really cool.
So….why do you run?