For all long time runners there are multiple reasons behind why they run, health, time to think, play/enjoyment, process emotions, love of the outdoors, to eat junk food, or social aspects just to name a few. It’s good to revisit this from time to time to remind yourself what running means to you and how it has changed your life.
What started you running, may be completely different from the reasons you have continued to run. Your reasons have shifted from external to internal and if they haven’t, running may lose its appeal. At least, until you find another external reason to toss you back into running.
In this post, what I want to consider are internal reasons to run rather than the external ones.
The question here is, why should you run for you? I’m sure some think this is a silly question, but I see a lot of people in many different settings who do things because of the benefit they think it gives to others or to change how others perceive them. Let me give you some examples to clarify.
I run for my children. I want to show them how to be healthy, and I want to be healthy to be able to run and play with them. I run to socialize and hang out with my friends. I run to show the world I’m strong, capable, and can achieve goals. I run to look good to others and find a significant other. I run to deal with a stress caused by others. I run to compete with others.
I think these are fine reasons to get you started, but you need to dig deeper if you intend to keep running. These are not sustainable sources of motivation because, eventually, they lose their ability to propel you forward. Life changes and priorities change. In other words they are situational.
Don’t get me wrong, doing things for others is a good thing. I’m not advocating selfishness here. Running for yourself benefits everyone in your life. Some of the above reasons can be turned inside out, becoming reasons to run for you, but I think they are still surface reasons. Running for yourself means competing with who you were yesterday. It means growth. It means valuing yourself just because you are you and nothing more. It means running because YOU deserve the benefits of running.
I run to discover myself and to be as alive as I can possibly be. I run to be free to be myself without judgement. I run because I deserve to be happy, stress free, healthy, strong, beautiful, grounded, creative, and fearless.
This post hit close to home, I had been struggling to fine my rhythm in running again, I just didn’t have the direct words to put to it like you had written, thank you. Seeing the reasons and the benefits to running helps keep me going.
It’s easy to forget why we do things when other areas of our lives become complicated.
I don’t know that I could articulate why I run as well as you have, but I love the idea that running for yourself means competing with who you were yesterday. That really resonates with me. Great post.
I started running because I was a skint student who couldn’t afford a gym membership. And now, my motivations have totally changed. I run for my sanity and my health, first and foremost.
Both very good reasons to run. I started by running for my sanity as well and as life has calmed down my motivations have shifted as well.