Why do you do something? When you’re trying or aiming to start a new habit or setting yourself a new goal, plenty of advice on the subject will ask-
“What is your Why?”
This is the big underlying reason why you want to do what you want to do.
It could be that you’ve had some chest pain and a tingling sensation in your arm. The doctor gave you the all clear, but it shook you to your boots and you want to see your kids grow up.
It could be you have lost a close friend or family member and you want to hold on to their memory and raise money for an associated charity.
You could be running away from something. Anxiety, loneliness, grief. And hopefully towards something. Calmness, companionship, happiness.
I wondered what my why was for running. It seems I have quite a few.
So I feel like an athlete
I was the sportiest kid ever! That’s how I grew up. That is who I was – the captain of the team, the kid carrying around 3 sports kits. Though the sportiest kid ever turned into the most sedentary student ever, the image has stayed with me. I expanded on this in my post “Why am I not better”.
My activity levels picked up in my 30s, and I love the feel of lycra in the morning, the cold air when you’re out before everyone else, the tight hamstrings, the lactic acid burn and the high five at the end of a good session. The feeling that I can do things with my body and that I’m in control.
The love of sport
Whilst I stopped playing sport, I never stopped watching it or talking about it. As fun as it is to talk about the good old days of county championship trophies and “representing” England at basketball, I still like to talk about my morning run, my bike ride with friends and how I still might be able to take you over 60m!
An obvious challenge is a PB. I got sucked into this as nearly every run I did, resulted in a PB. Complacency set in and a couple of recent runs has shown me I’m a fair way off where I was. The challenge is to redefine my goals and how I am going to get there.
The discipline to get out the door. My TV remote control discipline is legendary but it’s not getting me very far in life. Getting up earlier at the weekend than you do on a weekday, smashing your training session and tagging on a parkrun makes you think that not everything is as difficult as you thought.
Not to be A whiner
It is really tough to start and be consistent. People really struggle with it. I think everyone does. I definitely do. Even Micheal Phelps did. There is no better story that Anthony Ervin. I don’t want to be 15 stone (95 kg) again and struggling to get up off the ground. I want to say “It was tough. It hurt, but I just went and did it”.
Ease in daily life
Whilst running doesn’t help my desk job; it makes the effort of running for the bus no problem. When I have to chase my niece and nephew, I don’t get out of breath and have to sit down and take a break. When I have to chase my friend’s dog to stop him jumping into the lake, I am happy to have a little sprint. It’s good to feel strong.
There’s that special feeling when you’re on the way to a race and you catch the eye of another competitor and you just give each other a nod. When you’re on a train and you see a timing tag on someone’s shoe and suddenly you start talking. Standing on the start line feeling good and ready to go, surrounded by like-minded people.
To show myself what I can do
You have to push yourself. It’s so easy to stay in bed and let that training session slip by. To take that short cut home. To not push over that last kilometre. When I’ve done an hour of BMF, and I am absolutely hanging and then go and do parkrun straight afterwards, it can be tough. But it shows I have some grit, which can be called upon when I need it.
Running can be meditation. Apparently, you can actually meditate whilst you run. When you’ve had a bad day and you just can’t clear your mind, a run can sort it all out. You get time to think with no distractions and figure things out. The endorphins reduce anxiety and lift your mood.
It’s natural, pure and free
Our ancestors used to run to catch food and to stay alive. We might not be born to run, but it is definitely in our genes. It gets you outside in the fresh air, takes you to new places and it’s rather easy on the pocket.
I can have the odd cheat
Whilst I know I cannot eat what I like, and if I do have a bit of a blow-out I don’t feel so guilty and beat myself up about it. I also know that I’ll be out running the next day trying to make amends.
Everyone what’s to feel good. One way to helps with that is if you look healthy and your clothes fit you well. It gives you confidence, which in itself can have positive effects on your life. It’s also nice when people notice your efforts and take the time to let you know.
It can be tricky to get and a lot of things need to be in place. When you’re really rolling and find that sweet spot that feels like a mix of hard but also sort of easy, it can make any cold morning worth it. However, it’s most likely to happen on a sunny evening when you’re running with friends.
See, there are quite a few. This is a good exercise to do when you are having a bit of a wobble and struggling to get out for that run.
What’s your why?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.