Why I run
A partial, and by no means complete, list
Sometimes people ask me why I run. This could take all day, but here are 21 reasons.
I run because it’s the most efficient form of travel on two feet. You can go anywhere on a run, whether it’s up a trail or down a road. There’s a whole world waiting to be explored.
I run because the journey isn’t constrained by physical dimensions. Running allows me to disappear inside myself for long periods of time. Hopefully, I’ll emerge a somewhat better version of myself.
I run because it offers a break from the world, free of meetings and notifications and responsibilities. There are very few places to be alone with your thoughts anymore. No one bothers you on a run.
I run because it does wonders for my mental health. Running provides a space for me to literally stand on my own two feet and work through whatever I have to work through. Even if running doesn’t solve every problem, it tends to offer a fresh perspective.
I run because it makes me tougher and more resilient. When you climb that hill or match that split, you learn about adversity and how to handle inner conflict. Your response may not always be perfect, but it tends to be rewarding.
I run because I like to be alone. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, I run with friends and the experience reveals new depths of meaning to our relationship. There’s a balance that would be nice to find.
I run because I’m an athlete. Not an elite athlete by any stretch of the imagination or even a particularly talented athlete, but an athlete all the same. I didn’t realize until recently how much that means for me to be able to say that in my 40’s.
I run because I’m competitive. There’s no greater rush than outkicking someone down the stretch of a race and leaving it all on the course. As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve learned the most important competition is with myself.
I run because I have an ego. Sometimes it motivates me and other times it gets me in trouble, but running helps hold that ego in check. Most of the time.
I run because I like that it makes me look fit and trim. Oftentimes how I feel is determined by how I look, which should probably be the other way around. We’re all a work in progress.
I run because it’s honest. How fast or how far you run is dependent on a whole host of factors, many of which may be out of your control, but there’s no bullshit with running. You start in one place, finish in another, and that’s your run.
I run because it’s a chance to have an unfiltered conversation with yourself, offering fresh insight and feedback every time out. Sometimes I don’t like what running has to say, but it never lies. You just need to listen.
I run because it’s a way to mark the seasons and the passing of time. I can look back through old training journals and see progress and setbacks, triumph and disappointment. Running helps me evolve.
I run because it’s something I do for myself. When I go out for a run, it’s a real tangible thing that I accomplished during the course of my day. No one can mess with it or take it away from me.
I run because I shouldn’t hold onto things so tightly. This can all disappear tomorrow. Running reminds me to be grateful for the opportunity to do things I love. Nothing is guaranteed.
I run because it forces me to be in the moment. Not the far off future or the distant past. Right now. This moment. Putting one foot in front of the other until reaching your destination.
I run because every once in a while everything falls into place and you get to experience the exhilaration of free, unfettered movement. Just knowing that space exists is enough to keep me going.
I run because it’s humbling. Every time you think you have it figured out, there’s something new to learn.
I run because there’s nothing quite like climbing a hill and feeling the wind and rain pelting your face. When I see streams of breath on a chilly morning, or sweat glistening on my arm on a humid afternoon, running makes me feel alive.
I run because at certain points it strips away all your creature comforts and bares your soul. In those moments of vulnerability you are faced with a choice: quit or go on. That’s pretty much the essence of life, right?
Mostly I run because it’s fun.
Why do you run?