We’ve heard/read/talked about all the 1,000,001 reasons why running is the best. Endorphins! Runners high! Strong legs! Low BMR!
And while all these things are indeed fantastic, recently I’ve been noticing that there are a lot of things about being a runner that I love…that don’t have anything to do with the actual act of running.
Naturally, my favorite parts of the sport revolve around the actual run itself—the feeling I get during an effortless long run, the satisfaction of a hard speed workout, and the joy of crossing a finish line.
There are, however, “bonuses”—if you will—to being a runner. And I’m not even talking about increased pasta allowance or toned legs. There are wonderful little things that you might not even realize…
Here are some of the things I’ve realized I love about being a runner that are simply fun free-bees that come with the sport, all existential ponderings aside.
Decreased care for sodium intake
Bring on the salt! As someone who is at least mostly aware of all the “do not eat too much of _____” mantras that are preached, I’m always happy that I don’t even bat an eye at the thought that there’s too much salt in something. I’m a very salty sweater, and I can actually feel the difference for the better when I’ve consciously increased the salt in/on my food.
Sure, there are other reasons why you might need to stray away from excess sodium, like if you’re predisposed to high blood pressure, but I say if you’re a runner and you’re in the clear heart-wise, shake it on!
Assistance in commuting
McDreamy had a thing for ferry boats…which is why this photo is applicable. I’m also re-watching Grey’s, therefore it is two-fold applicable. BOOM.
At least once a week, often times more, I need to run to get to various forms of transportation on time. It’s a bad habit, and I don’t intend on it happening, but— because I’m a runner— I can get away with it.
I take the ferry to and from work, which is about a half mile away from my office building. Needless to say, figuring out my timing is crucial. Also, missing a ferry isn’t like missing a bus or a subway during rush hour when there’s typically another one coming right away. No, if you miss the ferry, you have to just sit at the dock for half an hour and wait for the next one. And yes, I know this from experience.
But, BUT! I have avoided this happening numerous times because of my running capabilities.
Exhibit A: The other day, I was bombarded by a chatty group of coworkers while trying to leave the building…delaying my perfectly-timed-out walk commute to the ferry. Needless to say, I was pushing it…and when I realized on my walk I had approximately 1 minute to get to the ferry and too much distance to cover, there was only one option.
Full on sprint. Computer bag, purse, ballet flats and all. But thanks to being a runner, not only was it not impossible to do, but I also made it in the nick of time.
Call it speed work. Running isn’t just for exercise, folks.
Fending off illness
This might be just me, and I apologize if it is and I’m just gloating, but being a runner has done wondrous things for my immune system. I hardly ever get sick, or even a cold for that matter, and if I do it seems to be gone within a day or two. I can’t remember the last time I had a fever, or anything worse than a sore throat. I think running has a lot to do with this…and it furthers the notion that exercise is really one of the best medicines.
I can also guarantee I will wake up tomorrow with pneumonia after writing that. Knock on wood, etc. etc.
Running is about 100x more convenient than other exercise. It doesn’t have business hours, it doesn’t close for holidays, it doesn’t require you to pay a membership fee. It’s really just all-around a great thing to have in your fitness repertoire.
Before I was a runner and I’d go on vacation, I knew I wouldn’t have access to a gym so I’d stress out and just condemn myself to a sweat-less couple of days. Running was too difficult an option at that time because I never regularly did it.
But now that I’m a runner, not only do I have the option to exercise on vacation, on holidays, etc…but I love to run in new places. It’s one of my favorite ways to see a new place, and I love the notion that no matter where you go, running is always an option.
Yoga feels so much better
Seriously. If you’ve ever done pigeon pose after a heavy mileage week, you know what I’m talking about.
I do like yoga, and I kind of have spurts of going, but one thing’s for sure that my incentive to go is directly related to my current running patterns. The more running, the higher the chance I’ll be craving some warriors and forward-folds.
Disclosure time: My desire to go to yoga doesn’t actually have to do with the stretching/flexibility benefits.
Yes, those things are nice, but I really want to go because it feels so stupid good after my muscles have been shortened and pounded by the pavement. Put my in pigeon while marathon training, and I’ll be giddy and drooling like Drew Brees in those Nyquil commercials.
Those are just some of the various bonuses to being a runner. I love that the benefits of this sport seem to be endless…both on and off the road.
Now I want to know: What are your favorite parts about being a runner that have nothing to do with running? Nothing about “mind-clearing” and “sole-cleansing”…let’s get specific here.