Love running – it won’t let you down

Runners explain why they love to run

The women who love to run.

The women who love to run.

 

It’s very hard for a non-runner to see the attraction in running. From the outside, it looks like a very boring hobby. How can putting one foot in front of the other for 30 minutes or longer inspire so much joy? I could list a hundred reasons why I love to run, but I have asked some of my students to tell me why they love to run.

Mood enhancer

Simone hits the nail on the head. “A happy wife equals a happy life,” she says. Caroline echoes these comments noting “I am a much nicer person once I’ve had my run.” This natural runner’s high is a key reason so many of our runners keep on running. No amount of coffee, alcohol or chocolate can come close to that post-run buzz. Mags, Sarah and Maria all list this as their reason to love running. “Running makes me feel amazing – when I’m finished.”

Freedom

Running allows us to get away from our busy reality and spend time alone. For Jane it’s her only time of the week where she is without kids, husband or work colleagues competing for her attention. “Running offers me-time and a chance to do something truly for myself.” Running can help us escape from our routine and take us on adventures at home and abroad. Denise loves that “you can run anywhere” and has proven this by running all over the world.

Peace

The ability of running to clear the mind is priceless. Deirdre, Antoinette and Claire all love the headspace running brings. Running can reduce a temper or lift a bad mood. Dee explains how running “helps put problems and stresses into perspective”. The mental health benefits of running are some of the most powerful of all. With a lack of distractions and an abundance of fresh air, the mind can think freely and create new ideas and dreams.

Mindset

Achieving running goals builds our confidence and strength. Claire describes how running makes her feel more able for challenges in the “real” world. The increased self-belief, pride and resilience leads to a more positive mindset. Cora explains how this change of mindset has helped her “adopt the same attitude in other areas of my life and try new things”. Éimear explains how running “changed my view of me” as she now takes on challenges that the old her would never have imagined possible.

Friendship

Camaraderie is another popular reason to love running. Orla describes how “running buddies keep you motivated, make you smile and offer a listening ear”. A social and simple sport, many a conversation has been struck up at a race start line, an adjoining treadmill or in a running club. Being new in town, a running club brings a readymade group of friends, and possibly even a source of romance as Hayley has recently found out.

Achievement

Races provide milestones and an opportunity to set new challenges. Una loves that “running has room for everyone”. Whether you wish to win a race or just complete the distance, there is an event just for you. Aileen loves the social atmosphere at these races even when she is at the back of the pack. The sense of achievement that running brings is addictive regardless of running ability. “I love to feel the fear and do it anyway,” says Maria. Running helps to push boundaries. The challenge keeps us going and moves us forward.

Surprise

Laura loves that every run is different and there is always a surprise element when you leave home. It may be the scenery, the weather or a chance encounter on the road. It may be the pace, the conversation or, unfortunately, a fall that makes the run memorable. Each run is different and until you are out there you never know what might happen. The uncertainty of each run is what excites many runners.

Balance

As a big fan of a post-run scone and cuppa, Susan describe how running allows her to enjoy occasional guilt-free treats. Leah likes to balance out her love of chocolate with her passion for running. Running helps bring balance to our day, not just our diet. Pia loves how running gets her outdoors when she is naturally a home-bird and allows her to explore new places. The daily balance of indoors and outdoors, busy and calm, sitting and moving are all complemented by running.

The perfect partner

Very few of those who shared their feelings about running mentioned weight-loss, fitness or general health as their reasons to love to run. Running clearly has a much bigger impact than just physical health. This Valentine’s Day we may be searching for a partner who can lift our spirit, ease our worries and make us feel amazing. Isn’t it funny that your running shoes might help do those things for you while you await the arrival of your knight in shining armour?

Sign up for one of The Irish Times' Get Running programmes (it is free!).

First, pick the programme that suits you.
- Beginner Course: This programme is an eight-week course that will take you from inactivity to being able to run 30 minutes non-stop.
- Stay On Track: The second programme is an eight-week course for those of you who can squeeze in a 30- to 40-minute run three times a week.
- 10km Course: This is an eight-week course designed for those who can comfortably run for 30 minutes and want to move up to the 10km mark.
Best of luck!

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