Running – Thoughts, benefits, motivations and how it’s helped me

It’s been several months now since I started running and I thought i’d draw up a list of the benefits i’ve found. maybe it’ll inspire someone else to get up on their feet. Running has helped me through bad times and i’m sure it will in times to come.

Running has given me belief in myself and self esteem.  I’m doing something for myself. I’m doing something I never thought I could do, both physically and mentally. It’s given me pride in myself. I feel I have and can achieve more.

Running has given me a focus. Ever feel like you’re just drifting through life?  Well maybe I am in many ways but now I run it’s showed me how to focus on something and i’m letting that seep through into all parts of my life.

Running relieves stress and gives me time to think. Had a bad day at work? Run, run it off. Thinking negatively? Have a run and work through the issues on the move. It’s much easier to sort through things and bring the important ones to the surface while you’re in motion and feeling that running buzz kick in.

Running provides motivation, it used to hard to motivate myself to do much of anything. My focus was only on looking after my dog as she got older. Now I can self motivate. I’ve learned to push myself to run and choose the harder option rather than sit on my ass. I have plans for trail half marathons, hell i’m already signed up to one in 3 weeks. Motivated now? Bet your life I am.

Running has taught me patience. None of this has happened overnight but I’ve learned that given time you can effect positive change. There’s no magic bullet cure for negativity. Pull yourself out of it one step at a time, just like running, take a deep breath and push off, one foot in front of the other and just go. Don’t look back, focus on the path ahead.

Running has got me out of the door and into nature. They say nature is good for the soul and I believe it. I love trail running, I love being outside in the elements. It makes me feel alive. I see things I would otherwise have never experienced. You don’t see much within four walls and the screen is no substitute for real life.

Running has helped me grieve. People might say it was only a dog but I looked after that puppy for sixteen years. From the moment I found her to the moment I had to let her go I loved her for every second. I still do. I ran the day I had to have her put to sleep and I think of her when I run the beach where we used to walk and it makes me feel closer to her still. That has helped a lot.

Running has given me an interest even when i’m not actually out there on the trails. I like to think about it, I like to blog about it (here I am typing this!)  I like to read others thoughts about it.

Running has taught me to march to the beat of my own drum. You can read about how to run and what you should be doing forever on the internet. I believe it’s each to their own. Listen to your body and you won’t go far wrong. Perhaps to win races or set great times people must stick to training plans but that sounds like a job to me. I run for the joy of it. There is no end goal for me. No magic distance or time. Just do what I can and push myself a little further when I feel I can.

Running has made me feel fit, or at least fitter!! I was scared of how out of shape I was at the beginning of last summer. A few runs in cricket and I was almost on my knees – That’s heart attack territory for you.  Now I feel much better, I have more energy, I get more done in work, I want to be in motion not looking for a chair. Yes I ache occasionally, you know what? It’s nice to ache, it feels like progress when my muscles tell me “hey that was hard”

Running has helped with weight loss – Ok so to be honest I haven’t lost a huge amount while running. A few years ago I lost 70 pounds through sheer effort of will and hard dieting. That started to creep back on but running has helped me shed that creep again and i’m slowly going back down but feeling much stronger for it. It doesn’t feel like “diet loss” it feels like “strength gain”

Running has helped with my nutrition. I’ll freely admit i’ve never really thought too hard about what i’ve eaten. Now I think about it a lot. If I want to achieve better things (and for better things I don’t mean winning races I mean feeling that I’ve achieved something personally) I need to think about how I fuel my body for the runs. I’m virtually vegetarian now, in fact I don’t think i’ve eaten meat since xmas. I ensure that I have enough fuel for longer runs and eat as healthily as possible.

That turned out to be more expansive than I originally thought.  If anyone out there needs any reason to get up and go then just pick one of those points and use it as motivation, the rest will follow if you stick at it.  I run alone by choice, there are other benefits you can get from joining others – friends or a club.

I didn’t think I could do this. Sometimes I still don’t think I can do this. Don’t be afraid of failure. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go again.  The only failure is when you stop trying.

If you feel just a little inspired and want to get started running but not sure where to start drop me a line, i’ll quite happily give you the push off the line you need. Im no expert and will never claim to be but I know what it’s done for me. It really is something anyone can do – I’ve just proved that to myself

Author: Gareth

Running coastal trails in South Wales and working on a healthier body and mind

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