Running is one of the simple ways to get a good cardio workout (and it’s an important skill for when the Zombie Apocalypse hits). Whether you’re just getting started running or have already run a marathon, here are some inspirations you need to get out the door and with purpose will change your life dramatically.
You will become healthier
You don’t have to commit to running a marathon (or even a half marathon) to improve your fitness. If you’re a new runner, which means running 3-4 days a week while also paying heed to develop strength and recovery. If you’re an average runner, it means varying your running to include long runs and faster workouts to further fitness while avoiding plateaus. It won’t happen in one night, so you have to be gentle, be consistent and trust the process.
You will become more accountable
As much as running can be fairly free-form leisure exercise, the more you get into it the more it demands accountability, precision and a sense of presence. Logging proper mileage, hitting workout times, showing up on time for a group run and forcing you to get out of bed an hour early are all things that will spur accountability. Not only will you get to make time for running, you will also find yourself being more prompt and present in everyday life too.
You will become more ambitious
As you run more, gain fitness and check off various goals, you’ll most likely notice a boost in self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. Suddenly you’ll endeavor to do even more with running: run faster to improve your best times, run longer weekend runs, run an overseas race and even consider training for an ultra-distance race.
You will become more confident
By running consistently and committing to the goals you develop, running will develop an incurable confident that will not only make you look ahead to your next run or race, but it will also make you look forward and encourage you to improve other aspects of your life. Trust me, it is contagious. Running in bad weather, running through aches and pains and running through the fatigue you feel in a race will all build positive energy that will pay off in other places.
You will eat better
Whether or not you started running to lose weight and regardless of what your dietary habits are, the simple act of running consistently, and all of the positivity it brings will encourage you to make better nutritional choices. Part of that will be a conscious effort—as your physical fitness improves, so too does your mental acuity—that will help you opt away from eating too much or eating less healthy foods on a regular basis. But part of it is also subconscious. Your body will start to crave certain types of foods for the rich nutrients they contain and your brain will guide you to better choices even without you knowing it. After a few months of running, you’ll look back and be able to recognize the changes you made in your choices, even if you don’t remember consciously changing.
You will become a better version of yourself
If you’re just starting out, the positive effects of running will begin immediately, even if you don’t recognize them right away. If you’re a lifelong runner, running will continue to help you become a better version of yourself. No, runners are not perfect, but the more you submit to the authenticity of running, the more you realize it contains a power bigger than yourself.
You will function better in everyday life
Based on all of the above, how can you envision life not improving considerably in just about every aspect?
You will have more empathy
Running breeds community and no matter if you run alone or in groups, running will make you realize a lot about your fellow humans. The first thing you’ll realize that is that running is a gift to everyone who embraces it. But you also realize that not everyone can or will embrace running. And, for a lot of runners, that helps creates a sense of empathy. When you’re more aware, you can understand other people and their unique situations better and also help and encourage other people in life, in running and in general.
You will run forever
If you have a smart and balanced approach to running—in other words, running consistently without becoming obsessive about it—running can be a part of your life forever. Yes, we all slow down as we get older and running might turn into slow jogging or even fast walk later in life, but it’s not about that. (Props to those outliers who keep running fast later in life!) When it comes down to it, running is about the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other in a very purposeful manner—for health, for fun, for your own well-being and improvement and for being present with yourself every single day.