What I Love Most About Running


Another runner and blogger, Jason Fitzgerald of Strength Running (whom I interviewed here), posed a question on his blog the other day…

He asked, “what do YOU love about running? And what’s your FAVORITE part of being a runner?”

Of course, everyone has their reasons, and there were a lot of great responses in the comment’s section. And after I thought about it a little bit, I decided to share my thoughts with you here.

So, what do I love about running, you ask? Oh, let me count the ways! In all seriousness, I almost don’t even know where to begin, and it’s taken me some time to collect my thoughts and to condense them into one short article.

Editor’s note: and now, after having written it, I feel like I haven’t even done it justice.

But I suppose I could start by sharing this quote from my article 100 Lessons I’ve Learned From 10 Years of Running.

As I reflect back on all those miles run at all times of day and night, in summer and winter, in the sun and the rain, on the roads, the trails, and the track, I realized that the more I give to running, the more it gives back to me.

You see, running not only strengthens my body, it sharpens my mind. And more specifically, it puts me into the habit of having to overcome resistance each and every time I run. Getting out the door and onto the road, track, or trail is the hardest part, but it’s only the beginning. It’s so easy to procrastinate, skip a run, or just put it off. But once I finally do get out the door, the battle has just begun. Then I have to face those relentless little mind games we runners like to play each and every step of the way.

You can’t do it, Sifferman! Not TODAY. (Doubt)
Feel that? There’s something wrong with your knee again! (Fear)
I’m too tired/sore/underfed/overfed/etc. to be doing this. (Logic)

And then when it gets really hard, when I’m ready to stop and have been ready to stop for a long time – and when my body is telling me that I must stop – I have to decide to keep going. To push a little longer, a little further, perhaps a little harder, while still trying to remain humble and being grateful for the gift of good health, fitness, and the ability to run this day.

And so, running is not only a vehicle for physical transformation – and a catalyst for lifestyle transformation as well, because being a runner is truly a lifestyle choice – but it is also a vehicle for character development, too. And the great thing about it is that you don’t even have to try at that part! While you’re chasing faster times, better splits, and stronger legs, you get to practice – whether consciously or not – many of the values and character traits we so desire to embody; things like discipline, perseverance, patience, and the pursuit of excellence, among many other things we value.

Tip: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Running builds character. If you want to build a lot of character quickly, run hills.

But even beyond that, running gives us so much more. On one hand, it gives energy, increases one’s physical stamina and mental resiliency, and lowers one’s risk for tons of diseases. And that’s just the beginning of the long list of physical benefits. And all the while, running also relieves stress, provides clarity, and inspires creativity, among many other things.

And to tell you the truth, sometimes, it seems that no matter what I need, no matter what I’m looking for, running has a way of delivering that one thing at the most unexpected times. The answer to the question that’s been bothering me. The hurdle I can’t figure out at work. That relationship issue that’s been bugging me. The idea that’s been stuck in the back of my mind for 24 months. Whatever it is, the solution seems to come to me in the most mundane of moments – during a run or after a run, and more often than not, because of a run. I’ve often called these Running Revelations because running is the catalyst.

Now, my overall point is that when we give some of our time and some of our self to running, it gives back abundantly.

And not only that, but it connects us into a worldwide community that isn’t limited by borders, language barriers, or cultural differences. If you run, then you’re a runner – plain and simple. And that means we have something in common – something special. We might run different routes, for different reasons, and at different levels, but we’re all part of the same family. We speak’a the same language. We get it. And when you think about it, that’s truly an amazing thing.

Which brings me to my next point: what is my absolute favorite part of being a runner?

Well, if I had to list just one thing that I really love about running (because choosing an ultimate or favorite part would be really REALLY hard), I think that one of my favorite things is the feeling of finishing a long run before most of the world has crept out of bed in the morning. That, right there, is all right, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

Oh, and being able to eat whatever I want and still stay lean is pretty sweet, too (kidding!).

Final Words

In closing, I’d have to agree with Jason that running is one of the best ways to experience the world – regardless of whether you travel the world or just travel your world – those roads, trails, and other routes you call home. And I should note that it’s amazing how far you can travel and still stay so close to home, and I’m not just talking about mileage, folks.

I’ll see you out there.


So, what about you? What do you love most about running? What’s your number one favorite part of being a runner? Please comment below and please share this post with your running friends if you enjoyed it. And if you haven’t already, feel free to check out my article: 100 Lessons I’ve Learned From 10 Years of Running. If you’re a runner, I’m sure you’ll dig it. It’s one of my best.

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P.S. Now, having said all of that, it’s time for me to go for a walk, of all things. Well, it’s more of a hike on a mountain, really. And when I say mountain, it’s more like a big hill, actually. But I digress…

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Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/benmciver/

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