Why Everyone Should Run (or Jog or Power Walk)

I am getting ready (in the cool running world, we like to call it “training”) for a 10K in April in Charleston, SC called the Cooper River Bridge Run.  This (in my very limited experience since I have only run two other races) is the best run in the world.  You start in Mt. Pleasant, run across this huge bridge overlooking the Cooper River, Charleston, the Harbor, etc. with 40,000 of your best friends and end up in Charleston’s historic district where you can go eat some she-crab soup to celebrate all of that hard work.  And while I wouldn’t tell you that you must run this particular race, there is something fantastic about getting outside and running. 

Now, I don’t know if I should call what I do “running”.  It is more like a bouncier version of a plod.  My husband tells me it’s painful to watch, but since I’m the one doing it, I wouldn’t know (thankfully).  I’m also not sure how fast you have to go to call it a run, but I feel like I’m achieving superstardom if I can keep a 10-minute mile pace (which, for those of you watching at home, is not exactly burning up the asphalt).  And regrettably, when I do any sort of cardio for any length of time, my face turns bright red, almost fuschia, really, and stays that way for the next hour or so.  What happened? Are you OK?  Should I call a doctor?  These are the sorts of questions I get after I run.  So why would I recommend such an activity?  I’m so glad you asked.

Reasons to Run:

1. You don’t think you can, or you don’t think you can for any extended period of time.  It is wonderful to prove yourself wrong about these sorts of things.  The couch-to-5K plan is a great way to get started.

2. You can run with friends.  In the Fall, I ran with my friend Suzanne and she had all of my life’s problems solved within 60 minutes and I got a workout.  Amazing.  Do you not have any running friends?  Well, either coerce a fellow couch potato to begin with you (really, an invitation from a friend is great motivation!), or find a running club in your area.  Our local one is the Spartanburg Running Club.  I am not a social runner by nature (remember the pink face issue), so that’s why I love reason #3.

3. You can run alone.  Running alone is a great way to think, or pray, or listen to music.  I love to listen to sermons from some of my favorite pastors, or a podcast of NPR’S Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.  Technically, I do not run alone; I actually bring the dog along, but she doesn’t try to converse.  If she did, I would have to leave her at home.

4. It’s cheap.  Other than shelling out some money for a decent pair of running shoes, it’s virtually free.

5. You can do it anywhere.  You can run on vacation, you can run on a road (face traffic, please!), you can run on a trail, you can run in a park, you can run at the beach…oh, the places you’ll go when you run! Sorry, I started channeling Dr. Seuss.

6. You can make money running!  I have heard, though I wouldn’t know firsthand, that there are people who win races and are awarded prizes of money.  Now I personally consider finishing a race a prize in itself, but if the thought of cash is a motivator for you, go for it. 

7. It gets you outside.  Remember Vitamin D?  Some of us only see the sun through a window, or as we hurry from our house to the car.  Being outside is good for body and soul, even when it’s cold.  Now, I’ll admit at this juncture that I have cold- and exercise-induced asthma, and if I run when it’s below 40 degrees out, I will be zombie-like for the rest of the day because it’s so hard on my delicate princess-like lungs.  This is when I run on a treadmill at the Y – not ideal, but better than nothing.  I also sometimes just walk when I know that running would be too hard, but my walks turn into saunters…and then I have to stop and think about something…and before you know it, it’s time to head home.  That why I run: I am too ADD to power walk.

I’m sure there’s more, but I have a house to clean, so that’s enough.  Just be sure and thank me when you’ve finished your first marathon and won $5o,000 because I motivated you. 

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  1. I've recently started running again, and am glad that my only company (besides the dog) sits in a stroller. The most in-depth conversation I have is "Look, ducks! Quack! Quack!". Another advantage – teaching my kids that exercise is fun (they can't see my race face and grimace as we go uphill).

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