Why do we run?
It is a question that you may have never asked yourself, why do I run?
When we are children we run for many varying reasons, to play, for freedom, to explore, to get to the shops, to get to school, or to run away from siblings lol.
As we get older, other interests, possibly other sports, work, or life in general may put an end to this youthful freedom of running with reckless abandon. It is unfortunately part of life in the western world. Other "things" take over.
Unless as a teenager you run cross country or track or play a field based sport that involves a need for a strong aerobic base, running for running itself seems to take a back seat until at the earliest in our early 20s and for some others well they may not lace up again until they are in their 60s.Which brings me back to my title, why do we run?
In my experience we all start for different reasons, and continue running for different reasons there after. But at it's core we all continue for very similar reasons as well. Many people who ran competitively at high school, may have started and continued running through their adolescent years to become the best athlete they could be and possibly to see how far running could take them. There are others like myself for example who needed running as a training modality for their chosen field based sport, Australian Rules Football in my case, although running all my life for "training" and maybe the odd high school cross country race. I didn't start running until my early 20s seriously and competitively, but certainly my reasons for starting to run and race were much the same as the teenage cross country runner, to be the best possible athlete I could be and see how far I could take my running. Current or ex footballers/netballers and other field based athletes as well as ex high school runners have since become a constant within our RUNNEZ online coaching family. All with similar reasons for beginning and continuing their running journey, to improve performance via the Runnez structure, consistency and science. A lot of these runners have running goals, PB for 5,10km,half marathons, marathons, or ultra marathons for example. Or some transition into triathlon either short course or the prestigious ironman events.
The aforementioned cluster of runners though appearing to be a large portion of the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who partake in the greatest form of movement on earth are in fact a small percentage.
Since the early 70s led by Arthur Lydiard, Frank Shorter and Bill Bowerman the jogging and running boom for health, wellbeing and weight loss has been in full swing and I absolutely love it!
Millions of people commence their running journeys to drop 5-10 or maybe 50 kgs only to become addicted to the mental and emotional benefits that come with regular exercise and hence become lifelong runners, a lot of these people end up running half marathon and marathons, believe me I have coached many of these amazing people!
They start out jogging 30 seconds at a time power walking most of the sessions until they can build up to 5 minutes and so on. Many people will power walk to our RUNNEZ sessions for the first 3 months, then progress to running, and I actively encourage this!!! The bigger the base you can build the better, the magic is in the regularity and continuity!
Patience and trusting the process is the key here, like nearly all things in human performance.
When you see someone who has lost 40 kgs finish a marathon it really is an inspirational thing! But you certainly do not have to complete a marathon or even a fun run to derive the huge benefits of consistent running.
Many people, may not need to lose weight but just want to live a healthier and a more productive life, or have more energy for their kids or grandkids so they commence a running plan and start to weave it in to their life style. It is a magnificent thing, running.
Now that covers a lot of the reasons why people may commence running for the first time ever or after a long layoff. Now why do they continue, why do YOU continue?
External things like 3-4 goal races a year, continuing to improve and setting other goals are a big part of why a lot of us run regularly and consistently. But we need to go inward to find the REAL reason. We may not even be aware of what is happening, but each run no matter how far or short, fast or slow. releases very positive and important neurotransmitters through your brain that are hugely important for our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as increased productivity through the next 24 hours. We always feel better after a run and for hours after!
So many positives of our beautiful sport, all this a reminder of why WE run!
And no matter why you started running, I think you would agree that the most important reason to continue running is for continued physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, that goes for everyone at all levels! The PBs and continued improvement are a magnificent by product.
Now unfortunately in an era of Strava and social networks some people may forget this and too many people are falling into the trap of comparing themselves to other runners taking the joy and a lot of the positive benefits and even the performance benefits out of running. Il let you in on a little secret, the only time you should care about your pace is in a race, if you have set your self a REALISTIC goal, a time trial or If you are doing race specific reps of course as well. And if you are doing say 4x5 @10km pace or 5x600m @ 5km pace that session is for you, and your coach, no one else. Social networks are fantastic for connecting and communicating, but not for comparing yourself to others on EVERY easy jog. If you surround each run with a negative narrative, eg "why am i slow today?" "Il never be as fast as person A" Not only will you not enjoy your run, which always has to be the number 1 rule- You must enjoy it. The negative self talk will also sabotage your running performance- FACT. .
So it comes backs to what I always teach, Patience- for years and years- Consistency- for years and years - Enjoyment - Run Free- Balls to Wall (at the right times)- Extract every inch out of yourself in specific reps, Time Trials and Goal Races- Regenerate - Sleep, absorb the work, relax and enjoy the process.
Same simple message- and always remember the real reason WHY.
Become the runner you always dreamt of, join the RUNNEZ family today, you have nothing to lose! The online RUNNING COACH for YOU!