Friday, March 16, 2012

What is It About Running?

For over a month now I've been trying every other sweat-inducing workout to try and replace running. Yes, they've caused me to sweat, feel a burn and even some soreness the next day, but I haven't fully been able to find the same satisfaction in any of these activities as I do when I run.

It seems every other day someone is asking me "Well, Kristin, why don't you try something else? You can still workout you know. Why is it any different?" And then I sort of draw a blank and have nothing to say back because whatever I feel about running I just can't seem to sum up in words. I wish I could just beam them into my consciousness for a minute and maybe then they'd understand.

The thing is lots of people, mostly you dear readers, understand exactly what I'm talking about. I'm not the first person who has mourned not being able to run. There is something special about running, but it can be difficult to pinpoint.

So, all that said, here is what I have come up with to answer the age old "what is it about running that you love so much" question:

I love that I am the only piece of necessary equipment
No bikes or helmets. No yoga mats. No swim caps or goggles. Just me, myself, and I. Even shoes are optional.

Heck you don't even need actual workout clothes
I love that I can step outside my door and do it
Between work and grad school and wedding planning, running can always be squeezed in somewhere, whether it's at 5 am or 8 pm or even during lunch. I can literally step outside my door and get going. But now I have to think about my commute time to the gym, when the pool will be open, what time the spin class starts and how early I have to get there to get a spot, and whether there is a convenient yoga class lined up for this evening. So much extra planning, so much extra non-workout time.

Let's just do the math:

If I want to run for one hour I will workout for one hour. 
Total workout time = 60 minutes. 
Total time dedicated to workout = 60 minutes. 


If I want to go to a one hour spin class then I have to bike 15 minutes to the gym, arrive 15 minutes before class starts and then bike home 15 minutes afterwards. 
Total workout time = 60 minutes. 
Total time dedicated to workout = 105 minutes. 

Now that's just crappy.

I love that I can let my mind wander
Rigorous tempo or speed workouts aside, most of the time I can let my thoughts roam free when I run. It's just a constant, repetitive motion. One foot in front of the other. My legs do the work, my mind takes a break. It's my "me" time.

I love that I can connect
If I'm running in a group I connect with the group. We share a common passion. I love the running community. I've never met a bunch of more positive, genuinely nice people.

If I'm running solo I connect with myself. I connect with the earth. I find that running can be very spiritual. To me it is the ultimate form of therapy. I always feel physically and mentally refreshed after a good run.

A quiet trail run takes the edge off
I love that it makes the world feel bigger and smaller at the same time
At some point in my running career I ran far enough that suddenly nothing seemed inaccessible. I felt like I could run anywhere in my city. No need for a bike or the bus. I've got my feet! And then I started running trails and I realized how big and far reaching everything was, but it still seemed attainable. Maybe that's why I like ultras. It's big and small at the same time. 

Running can take you Amish Country for instance
I love that it packs a big calorie burning punch
This is of course one of the biggest reasons people love to run. Whether you're running fast or slow, running for just 10 minutes can burn 100+ calories. Now that is math that I like!

A marathon is definitely a big calorie burning punch
So tell me - what is it about running for you? Why do you miss running when you can't do it?


  1. I completely agree with the way running makes everything bigger and smaller. I feel that way EXACTLY, WORD FOR WORD! (and non runners don't get it...)
    I hate not running, it's one of my least favorite things.
    The things I miss most are the feeling that you could just GO forever... It's always my "thinking" time so I miss that. I miss the effortless rhythm that comes with a good long run... The fact that it's such an "easy" thing to do- but at the same time so damn tough (another runner-ism!)

    1. So well said about "going forever" and it being easy and hard at the same time. Runners must share a brain!

    2. Sweetie !! I love your blog! I used to run some but....... :) I definitely like what you said about the time and gas wasted to go to the gym, be there early to sign up and get a spot, and all the time that is consumed when you can just step outside! I think I will try it again and see where it takes me! Maybe around the block at first, but its a start! Congrats on your wedding!!! oxoxo Christy and Chelsea

  2. I'm with you! Time off from an injury due to running really stinks and it is hard to explain to people why you can't replace it with something else. Here's to hoping you are back at it soon!!

  3. I LOVE this post and couldn't agree with you more!

  4. Since I can't run right now either I totally empathize with this post. I love that it's freeing. I love that even my uncoordinated self can do it, and do it halfway well. I love the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the race. I love the good runs AND the bad runs because both make me stronger. And I HATE being injured.

    1. Ditto on that last part girl. Hears to both of us getting better soon!


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