Why I Run

The purpose of running has changed for me many times over my lifetime.  As a child, running was simply a way to get somewhere faster.  I see this in my children now.  Why walk when you can run?

As I became involved in sports, running was part of the game.  I never had to think about it, I just had to show up for soccer practice or a basketball game and off I went.

The first time I ever had to consciously make myself exercise was in college.  I didn’t have built-in workouts anymore.  No more practice, no more traveling squad, no more cross-country team.  All of a sudden, running was a way to stay in shape.

At first, the transition was difficult.  How far should I run?  For how long?  Inside or outside?  For the next thirteen years of my life, I fell on and off the running wagon.

Throughout that time, I bounced from intramurals to weight-training to exercise classes to treadmill running, but I never found my stride.

I ran in a few races, but ended up looking like this at the finish line:

Why I Run by InspiredRD.com

Look at me compared to Angela who looks like she could run another 3 miles with no problem.

In August, I started the couch-to-5K running plan if only to be able to complete this year’s Turkey Trot without looking and feeling like I was about to die.  I am such a rule-follower that I planned to follow the program to a T no matter what.  But then, during day 2 of week 6 it happened, I hit my stride.

I was supposed to run for five minutes then walk for three, but I felt so good after five minutes that I just kept going…for 25 minutes!  Since then, I feel like I have my running groove back for the first time since I was a freshman in high school.  I no longer dread running as a way to stay in shape, but I actually look forward to running.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but running has become my reward at the end of a long day of mommying.  It is my time to jam out to music with my feet hitting the horse trail.  My time to challenge myself and see how far and how long I can go (on Friday I went for 43 minutes!).  My time to feel refreshed and new so I can give the best of myself to my family.

I am so glad I gave running another try.  At this stage in my life, it’s exactly what I need.

Why do you run? Or walk? Or do your favorite form of exercise?
Full disclosure: I pulled this post from the archives to motivate myself to get back at it (and hopefully inspired you too)!
  • Julie October 19, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Great post…Unlike you, I never did anything remotely athletic while growing up…unless you count marching band. I tried to run in college, well my friends tried to drag me around the block without much success. Then I got on with my life and mommyhood and somehow found myself turning forty and not liking how I was looking and feeling. Long story short, I joined a triathlon group at our Y and have been active for the last 5 years. Have done a Half Ironman, 3 half marathons and I have to say, that as much as I complain about running sometimes, I really love it. Recently had to lay off for 6 weeks due to surgery and am now able to run again…although it's hard to get back into, I am thrilled to be able to run again. It's something I do just for me..for my own sense of accomplishment and happiness…

  • Shawna October 19, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    I lack the coordination required for most sports and tend to balk against having to follow all the rules involved. I discovered i enjoyed running in college when i randomly jumped on a treadmill for some exercise when my kickboxing class was canceled. Soon I was religiously running 5 miles every day. I haven't done much running since my second child was born and doubt i could even go a mile right now, but i just started couch to 10k yesterday. I'm really excited about it and am encouraged by your post – hoping i have a similar experience of finding my stride again!

  • Amanda and Amanda October 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Ahh, how I can relate!
    I run for sanity, I run for the ME time…isn't running great?!

  • workout mommy October 19, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    i can also relate! Running is where i get to just think about ME and enjoy everything around me.

    I used to run for competitive reasons but now I just run because i CAN! 🙂

  • Nisha October 19, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    I'm with you on this one – kept fit all growing up playing sports and dancing. And then the sweet college days hit. Once I stopped dancing me Soph. year in college, I didn't get back into a regular and consistent exercise routine for 5 years. I never was a runner. Jumping hurdles in track hardly counts, so I too used the wonderful C25K program. I've kept up with running for vanity purposes – nothing makes my legs look so hot. I also keep it up because it's my girlfriend time. I run with friends. And lastly – because I'm somewhat addicted to exercising mind over matter and cheerin my frickin self on 🙂

  • Jennie Mustafa-Julock October 19, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I'm so excited to find your blog! It's gorgeous and yummy!

    I run because I want to prove to myself that I can do the impossible. I'm currently finishing up a one year plan of running 9 NYC races to qualify for the 2011 NYC Marathon (6 down; 3 to go). I decided to make the marathon a goal while sitting on my sofa eating crap and watching the race on television last November. In that moment, I wanted to inspire myself!

    Looking forward to trying out some of your recipes!!!

  • .:.KatePaige, RD.:. October 19, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    I also run to stay sane. There is nothing quite like feeling the pavement under your feet and moving the air in and out of your lungs if you are feeling stressed. Running outside is my favorite; unfortunately, my MN residence forces me indoors to the treadmill far too often in those winter months.

    Cheers 🙂

  • Becca @ Our Crazy Boys October 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Why I run? Honestly?
    To get out of the house and away from the kids. Away from the little messes that I'm always tripping over (I have 2 boys). I run because if I do, then I can listen to any music I want without my kids saying, "Mommmm…. Dave Matthews? I don't like him…"
    I run because when I come back I am refreshed, I am calmer. I don't mind those little messes for another 24 hours.
    Oh, and I love the way I feel no guilt while eating a big breakfast afterwards. 🙂

  • Brooke Schantz MS, RD, LDN October 19, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Hi Alysa, Great post! I don't love working out, but I do love the feeling I get after my workout is finished and that pushes me to continue! The first ten minutes are always the worst, but the last ten minutes make me feel like I could run forever 🙂

  • Nour El-Zibdeh, RD October 20, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Great post. I don't run much–I don't think my knees can handle but I want to slowly train (after I have my baby in 3 months and adjust to normal life again). It happened before, and only when walking outside, that I felt like I want to run, to go fast, and not stop. And when I started running, I didn't want to stop or go back to walking. Great feeling.
    I do zumba now, and other that exercise and fitness, it's my chance to move to music I like when I don't have to worry about family, chore, work, etc. People need to realize that exercise is escape!

  • Alysa October 20, 2010 at 3:28 am

    These are all such great responses! Keep them coming!

  • Elizabeth Jarrard October 20, 2010 at 10:09 am

    great post!! (and comments) I just posted about running and why i do it! i do it to push my limits and see what i'm capable of, but also as a stress release and soothing meditation!

  • Stephanie October 28, 2010 at 6:50 am

    I run to stay fit for my kids, my husband, my health, myself.

    I actually took a "break" over the summer due to the heat, but I need to get back into it now that the weather is wonderful.

    [email protected]

  • Rea September 22, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    I used to love running, I did it for the mind-clearing and the escape. I especially loved running on country roads for the peacefulness. Unfortunately, my body just doesn’t seem to love running any more. I tried Couch to 5k and ran in a few 5k runs, but I just never hit that groove. (And for some reason running makes me pack on pounds, no explanation for why.)
    What I DO love is circuit training. I love the way it challenges me to do things that are really tough. It makes me feel strong (even though I’m SO not…) It’s always changing, always challenging. There’s also usually a camaraderie in circuit class that’s kind of fun. And it’s REALLY hard to focus on your problems when you’re trying to keep count of how many burpees you’ve done and hoping your arms don’t give out.
    I also love fitness walking. That’s been my peaceful, centering workout for years. Sometimes I get out of the habit for a time, but it’s so easy and compelling to get back to it.