26 Reasons Why You Should Start Running Now

Driving to Portland this morning, with Mt. Ranier in the background. My second Portland Marathon is tomorrow!

I’m sitting here relaxing before the Portland Marathon tomorrow. Walking through the race expo, it occurred to me just how much I love running, and how lucky I am to have discovered that. Many of the 12,000 other runners tomorrow will be doing their first marathon. Many is seems didn’t discover running until later in life.

I really stumbled upon running in high school and kept at it ever since with a few years break. I don’t think there is any bad time to start, even if you think you are getting too old. I can’t imagine going my whole life without having  run – though this is the case for most humans nowadays.

If you aren’t a runner….or have taken a break from running….here are some of the reasons why I think you should start running now. Not next month or next year, but right now.

I’ll keep the list at 26, one for each mile I’ll be running tomorrow.

  1. Our bodies were truly born to run
  2. It feels good
  3. Running produces more beta-endorphines (natural pain killers) than any other activity
  4. You will lose weight
  5. Running (with proper form) has been shown to strengthen joints (not break them down!)
  6. Its cheap transportation
  7. It’s social (find a running buddy or club!)
  8. Races are fun (start with a 5K…and build from there)
  9. You don’t need any new gear (the old sneakers in your closet will work fine, or go barefoot in a park)
  10. You’ll get more vitamin D by being outdoors in natural light
  11. You can listen to audio-books or music while doing it (I prefer to just run quietly though)
  12. Exploring trails is a fun thing to do on the weekends
  13. You get to expand your wardrobe with all kinds of new clothing and gear!
  14. Enjoy your desserts guilt-free (you’ll earn those cookies!)
  15. Keep track of progress, set goals, and beat them! (race time, miles in a week, etc.)
  16. You’ll have a whole new appreciation for track and field athletes during next year’s summer Olympics!
  17. If you have a dog, he or she will get more exercise!
  18. Use a social network like Runkeeper or Nike+ to share and challenge friends to runs and stay motivated
  19. You’ll be better at any other sport you do
  20. It’s moving meditation, and meditation is a powerful daily habit
  21. You’ll accumulate all kinds of cool schwag from races you’ll compete in over the years
  22. Your legs will get wicked strong (run hills!)
  23. Stuck fluid and toxins will get filtered out of your body more rapidly – leaving you clean on the inside
  24. Sweating often is healthy, it cleanses the skin, your body’s largest organ
  25. It’s better than coffee at waking you up in the morning
  26. A wise man once said “there is no better time than the present”…you should trust wise men!

Importance of running efficiency

Image via Wikipedia

As I ramp up my own running mileage, I’m becoming more aware of the importance of running bio-mechanics and overall efficiency. A little extra weight or unneeded movement adds up when you are running 20-30+ miles at a stretch.

An article, The Perfect Stride, at The New Yorker profiles the obsessive efforts of distance running Alberto Salazar in training his elite runners as part of Nike’s staff.

His focus on fore and mid-foot strike, faster turnover and lightly touching the ground with the feet are all things that start to come naturally with barefoot or minimalist running. I’m surprised the article didn’t say anything about footwear and the impact on stride and bio-mechanics. That could be one of the easiest ways to educate the body on how to run better vs doing lots of drills and having to focus on how your legs are moving and feet are landing all the time.

Just Do It

Just do it.

I really like that slogan. Say what you will about Nike….

When you are on the fence, non-committal, waffling and not sure if you should or shouldn’t do something, just committing and trying it out (in my own experience) is the best approach. Only by committing and just doing it will you ever figure out if it is the right thing to do. By just doing it you can discover your own talents and maybe even discover that whatever you are doing is just not the right thing for you to focus on at this moment. A little bit of action can make the next steps seem so much more clear.

Indecision paralyzes. Decision moves you forward.

Make your move. Just do it.