Are you a runner? It’s kind of one of those questions that generates a pretty clear answer.
For example, for runners this is what they do for exercise. It doesn’t matter what the weather is. it doesn’t matter if they have their training partner with them. And it doesn’t matter if they are away from home. Runners will always time time and an opportunity to run.
So regardless of whether somebody is a runner or not you have to appreciate the mindset runners bring to their sport.
But there are a number of other benefits to include running in your training. Here are the Top 12 Reasons to Run.
#1 – You can do it anywhere
How many times have been away from home and not worked out. Maybe the hotel gym was non existent. Or you’re a cyclist and you didn’t bring your bike on the trip. Or for whatever reason there wasn’t an opportunity to train and stay active. It’s pretty hard to use the same argument with running.
Wherever you are in the world there is space to run. Maybe this is outdoors. Or it might be an indoor track or stairs in your hotel. Regardless it’s relatively easy to find an opportunity to run.
And running shoes are about the easiest thing to pack. Even if you forget to pack some shoes you can pick up new ones on vacation and still get in a run.
#2 – Return on investment
When we train it should be purposeful and enjoyable. In terms of having a purpose, the #1 goal of people who go to the gym is weight loss or more specifically, fat loss. Running can burn anywhere from 400-600 calories in an hour depending on the intensity. Not only are you improving your cardiovascular fitness but you are getting leaner in the process.
#3 – Running partners
Running is a great way to meet new people. And then to have a training partner. Or an accountability partner for days when you don’t feel like training. The other great thing about running partners is that rarely do they try and coach and tell you what you to do. It’s different if you’re looking for coaching and tips on your running technique. But otherwise runners are happy to let you do your own thing without harping on you to dorsiflex more.
#4 – Sports performance
Three of the four major sports involve running. And running can be a great cross training or recovery activity for hockey as well. For any sport that involves running your performance can hinge on your running ability. Maybe you are an explosive sprinter which transfers well to all sports. Or maybe you are aren’t the absolute fastest runner but you have great technique and running economy and can outlast your opponents at the end of games. However you look at it being a better runner will make you a better athlete in a lot of sports.
#5 – Measurable
I like numbers. And things that can be measured. It then makes it possible to see if something is getting better or worse. Can I cover a greater distance in the same amount of time? Or can I cover the same distance in less time? Am I able to produce more repetitions of high intensity? For example, in football we typically refer to the 40 yard dash. And a time in the low-mid 4 seconds is considered fast. But besides being able to go all out once, how long would it take you to recover and do it again? Running is great for the ability to measure your performance. And living in Kelowna there are races happening almost monthly. The next one we’ll be doing is the Okanagan College 10K on April 9th.
#6 – Opportunity to explore
When you get to a new city running is a great way to go check things out. You see things differently than you would in a cab. And you definitely see more than you would on the subway. But you don’t need to even travel in order to explore a little. Just going for a run in your own city helps you discover new neighborhoods.
#7 – No commute required
Sometimes people will miss a training session because they weren’t able to commute. For example, yesterday here in Kelowna we had a huge dump of snow and many vehicles were snowed in or got stuck. As a result many people didn’t make it in for their training session. Think of all the other times someone may miss training due to transportation issues. Maybe they were having maintenance issues. Maybe the car was in the shop for servicing. Maybe traffic was really bad. Or they couldn’t find parking. Whatever the reason, running doesn’t involve a commute and therefore is not dependent on being able to drive somewhere to do it.
#8 – Fresh air
You know the air on an airplane after an extended flight? You know what I mean? It’s been warmed, polluted and recycled for hours on end. Nobody feels good. And all you crave is the opportunity to get outside the terminal and fill your lungs with fresh air.
This is what going for a run can feel like. Times 10. Whereas coming out of the terminal is often accompanied with all the smokers who can’t wait to cover the required 3 m and light up as well as the caravan of shuttle buses spewing exhaust, running at least offers the opportunity for fresh air. Especially if you get off road and find some trails with no vehicles or traffic.
#9 – Vitamin D
Resistance training is a great way to stay lean, healthy and strong. But at this time of year there aren’t a lot of outdoor gyms. Combine this with the shorter days during the winter and we can develop become deficient in terms of our daily requirement of vitamin D. Running, especially in the winter, is a great way to get a dose of this vitamin.
#10 – It’s good for four legs too
We don’t have a dog. But a number of our friends do. And the one thing I can remember most of them saying is that their dog does better when it has more exercise. You can look at this as being a good dog owner and as an accountability measure. On the days you don’t want to run your dog has probably been looking forward to it all day. And your pet will grab their leash and coax you out the door when you may not want to.
#11 – Recovery
If you enjoy running and head out for a reasonable distance/intensity than running can be a great recovery activity. Obviously this may not be the best thing for someone with chronic pain at any of the load bearing joints i.e. foot-ankle-knee-hip. As well, you need to keep the intensity low and the duration moderate to reap the benefits of a recovery run. Personally I love going for runs with Jim M. and Kirby S. We keep the pace low so that conversation is possible and then discuss everything from travel, books, million dollar invention ideas and shows to check out on Netflix. If it’s fun and you enjoy the company it’s probably effective for recovery as well.
#12 – Anytime
Quick question…what is the earliest you can go for a run? Or what is the latest you can go for a run? Obviously there are no limits of when you can go for a run. It’s not like the pool that closes at 5 pm. Or the ski hill that calls last chair at 345 pm. You can run as early or as late as you like. And as a bonus this can be a great way to get over jet lag. Sometimes after a red-eye flight across multiple time zones you can feel like falling into bed at 3 in the afternoon. A better option to throw your shoes on and go check out a new place to explore.
A quote from physical therapist Diane Lee always come to mind when thinking about running. The quote is ‘you don’t run to get in shape, you need to be in shape to run’.
With that in mind, if you are looking for some help to get in shape in order to run, we’ve got a program coming up to prepare you for a 10K. And if you’re already a runner maybe we can help you set a personal best at your next race. It kicks off this Monday February 13 and runs (pun intended) until April 9 with the 10K race at Okanagan College. Stop in or call (250) 212-2972 to register.