It’s really a miracle that I'm sitting here making an argument for a sport that I used to be totally against.
I was the anti-runner. I was the girl who, without fail, was always sick on the day when it was time to run the mile in gym class. I was the competitive swimmer who suddenly had a pulled hamstring or hurt ankle whenever my coach took us out of the pool and on to the track for cross training.
But now, by some extravagant act from above (I really have no idea how it happened), I'm the girl who is training for a marathon; the girl who willingly wakes up early to go for a run before work; the girl who, dare I say it, loves to run.
So, as someone who once felt nothing but hatred for the sport, I know just how much it really can suck. Before you get good at it, running involves quite a bit of pain, discomfort and probably some shin splints. Heck, even when you do get good at it, it can still be quite sucky at times. But as someone who has grown to truly enjoy almost everything that running has to offer, I can easily tell you exactly why it actually doesn't suck that much at all.
Hear me out and then decide for yourself. But just FYI, one of the perks involves bagels, so keep that in mind.
-10 Reasons Running Doesn’t Suck-
1. Strong legs.
Sure you might have to put up with a little bit of muscle soreness here and there, but that’s a small price to pay for the gift of strong, sturdy legs that can carry you just about anywhere you might want to go. While everyone else is scrolling through Tumblr worrying about thigh gaps, you’ll be out on the road building strength and endurance so that you can continue to run further and faster with each passing day.
2. Strong heart. (Literally and figuratively.)
As the brilliant and bold Carly Rae Jepsen once sang, “Your heart is muscle/ You gotta work it out/ Make it stronger” OK, so maybe she wasn’t singing about running, but her riveting lyrics absolutely apply to this sport. Your heart is in fact a muscle, and cardiovascular exercises, like running, help make it stronger.
Plus, the (figurative) hurdles that running will encourage you to overcome, like reaching new distances, beating personal records or coming back after an injury, and the lessons that you’ll learn along the way will fill your heart with the boldness and bravery of a fierce warrior. (Or at least enough courage to set new goals and try new things.)
3. Fall in love with food.
Running requires energy. Energy comes from food. The more you run, the more energy you’ll need (and trust me, your body will let you know), so embrace that increase in appetite and enjoy your meals more than ever before.
4. More music.
As if it weren’t already a blast to begin with, music can make running even more fun. You shouldn’t run with it all of the time, but for the workouts when you do, you might find that there’s no better feeling than mixing the endorphin rush of running with the excitement you get from rocking out to your favorite upbeat songs.
5. Exercise anywhere.
It’s plain and simple: if there’s a road (or trail or track) and you’ve got your sneakers, then there’s nothing in the way of you and your workout. I know, you could come up with a list of one million things that are “in your way”— the weather isn’t right, you’re tired, your dog ate your sports watch— but those are just excuses. The truth is, because running is one of the most easily accessible sports, it will keep you fit and healthy for life.
Not only will you probably make a few new runner friends once you join The Club, but as you continue to run and begin to encounter fellow runners out on the road, you’ll start to feel a strong sense of camaraderie. And if you ever decide to sign up for a race (maybe even run for charity), you’ll experience that feeling two fold and probably find that you have a new sense of appreciation for the sport and the community of athletes that makes it extraordinary.
Do I really need to say more? (Yes, because I’m a runner and I love talking about running.) No, but seriously. What’s more exhilarating than joining a race and being handed a shiny new medal as you cross the finish line? I’ll tell you what…
Arguably the only thing more exciting than collecting your medal at a race finish line— collecting your hard earned bagel. That’s right; most races provide participants with food and refreshments at the end of the course. I’ve been told that post-race bagels are mainly a New York thing (sorry other states), but still, no matter where you run, a properly organized event will provide its runners with snacks at the finish line. Usually including but not limited to: bananas, pizza, oranges, pretzels, protein and granola bars and sometimes even beer!
9. Functional fitness.
If executed properly (e.g. incorporating cross training, rest days and just not overdoing it in general), developing a running habit will hopefully keep you active and moving well into old age. Functional fitness means exercise that can help enhance everyday movements, like sitting down and standing up (squats), bending down to pick something up off the floor (deadlifts) or even something as simple as walking. Running will help to keep your joint range of motion fluid and your legs strong (as mentioned in number one) so that you can continue to move easily and effortlessly for your whole life.
10. Hilarious race signs.
Another reason why running is actually a lot of fun, and also why you should consider signing up for a few races: spectator signs will never fail to make you smile. In fact there’s a whole blog dedicated to hilarious race signs. Go give it a look. If you haven’t started running yet, I’m almost positive it will encourage you to reevaluate your life choices.