Why do we run?

20 Apr 2018

Why do we run?

Here at The Run Company we know why we do what we do. We believe that all runners and walkers should have access to quality advice and guidance about running shoes from experts, with a range of shoes (and clothes) to match. We are all runners ourselves, but everyone’s reason for running is different, so why do people run?

There are so many different answers to this question, although to people that don’t run (yet!) it can seem unbelievable that anyone would want to put themselves in a situation where they are deliberately out of breath, often struggling to continue, leaving legs like jelly at the end, whilst still allegedly “having fun”! It goes further than fun though. People that have been running for a while will often talk about the joy of running, beyond mere fun.

Some people are super clear on why they run whilst others sit more in the “Just seems like a good idea!” camp. Because running is often hard, requiring you to push yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone each regularly, this reason just has to be strong enough to overcome any wish to stay in bed, not go out in the rain or give up after a few weeks. It doesn’t matter how long you have been running for - some days the sofa looks more appealing than the trails, so staying focused on the “why” is important.

Number one on the list is often general health and fitness. Since most people aren’t outdoors all day toiling, staying in good shape requires dedicated time. Running exercises the heart, lungs and body. To maintain good running form later in a longer run when tired requires good core strength and mental focus. It might seem simple to just put on a pair of running shoes and head out of the door, but putting together everything required, both mentally and physically, takes a while to become second nature.

Why do we Run Seaside
Why do we Run Beach

Many people when asked will say they want to lose weight - if you compare time spent vs calories burned, then running is one of the most efficient forms of exercise. The legs are big muscles. However, if you continue to probe a little further and ask “why lose weight?”, you might find there is a deeper reason to be doing it, like happiness and peace of mind, especially since as a beginner you can’t start doing 90 minute runs straight away. The losing weight part might take a couple of months to kick in, so they have that deeper goal driving them to continue until they reach the point where the pounds start falling off.

Some people just like going faster / further. If you want to explore the hills of the South Downs, you see see a lot more in one go if you run. Gains in speed after the first few months of running are huge, with people talking about knocking two minutes off their Parkrun 5k time, whilst very experienced runners will listen on in envy, but feeling great about knocking just two seconds off their time!

I had the pleasure of going for a run and a chat in London with Haile Gebrselassie, one time marathon world record holder and all round amazing athlete over a variety of distances. He said that he sees running as a destressor. His favourite runs are long runs in the woods where he can empty his mind and just run free. Free from any outside influence. Free from any particular training type.

Others run for the challenge. There are lots of articles about this psychology and how perhaps we are missing challenge and danger from our modern lives, but ultimately I think many people just love discovering what they are capable of. Challenge = fun.

Some people run out of necessity. Children in countries like Kenya will have to run miles and miles each day if they want to get to school and back. For many of them, there is also a drive to make a better life, both for themselves and their families, with the allure of becoming a pro athlete. The money is literally life changing.

Speaking of children, have you noticed how they run around all the time? Let them loose in a playground and they will run around for 30 minutes playing, no problem, with joy on their faces. They normally have amazing running form too, with soft and efficient steps. So for some people, it’s a desire to get back to that.

People that have been running for quite a while often talk about a “runner’s high”. The brain counteracts pain with Endorphins that make you feel good. This can be a real pick-up if you are feeling down.

Many people have no interest in racing or getting faster, but love the social aspect of running. Joining a social running club lets you meet new people locally, make new friends and connections. Running down the canal in Chichester with The Run Company’s own run club in the sun on a Wednesday evening, chatting to fellow runners is something we look forward to.

What are your reasons for running? And if you don’t yet run but are considering it, what are the reasons that might be holding you back? Get in touch on our social channels and let us know!


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