I bet you already knew that running is an excellent way to improve fitness and is amazingly effective in weight loss! But what makes a runner so committed to their sport? Why do they run come rain or shine; summer or winter; or even during windy conditions? What is their motivation: their reason for pushing their bodies even when mother nature tells them not to?
On my recent self-discovery for the love of running, I think that I have finally started to unravel some of the answers to these mystery questions. At first, running was rather difficult. I soon discovered that my fitness was not as good as I thought it was. Running out of breath, stiff and tired legs seemed to plague me all the time. It is hard to stay motivated; to keep training when all you want to do is quit because you feel worse rather than better. I tried to run and do all the training on my own, without any guidance or help from professional coaches or people who had a wealth more knowledge and experience than I. Afterall, when you run, all you need is a pair of shoes and the road right?
2 years after embarking on my running journey, I learned the value in having a coach. Through their own experiences, they can provide invaluable advice on techniques, preventing overtraining and designing programs to keep you motivated. In life, we push through the hard times, because we have a goal to work towards: an accomplishment of some sorts. Running is no different. Think of the finish line at the end of the race: that is the ultimate goal… just to finish. Now, I am not suggesting that you start running, just to run in races, but having those goals are key to keep you inspired. They push you through the tough days when the couch and a packet of crisps looks much more favourable.
Having set certain running goals, with timeframes, in the last year, I have already achieved 3 of my 4 goals. Sadly, lockdown and a niggling knee injury has set me back a little bit. Nevertheless, I have not lost sight of my goal. The finish line has just been shifted slightly. When you have lost your form, fitness, and shape, it is difficult to get back into a good rhythm and find your way back into a consistent routine. However, little challenges, will, determination and consistency are the answer. By taking part in a challenge, by running or walking at least 5km daily, I have reinforced why I love running so much and why I have missed it.
Running is the time when I can allow myself to be free. This has a calming effect on my mind, body, and soul. If it sounds as though I meditate when I am running, there is no truer statement. Most runners are able to “get into a zone”, which I would describe as the feeling of being one with your body, one with the road and having the moment to embrace the beauty of the world around you. It is a time where you allow your thoughts to wander free and allow your senses to fully engage in the environment you are surrounded in.
Although I enjoy the meditative running on my own, I also love running with others. I have found that my performance is better when running with someone else. When you are tired and you feel like giving up, the other person either pushes you from the back or pulls you from the front. They are constantly testing the boundaries of your running comfort zone and you do the same for them. This taught me that running is in fact a team sport. The Comrades Marathon is a great testament to this statement. Hundreds of runners will depart from the start line and cross the finish line on their own. However, their support for one another is what gets them through the toughest part of the route.
Running with others also provides a social aspect. Having a little banter between each stride and breath, allows me to sound board with them, share ideas or exchange some interesting life stories. I have found more clarity of thought and solutions to problems that I may be struggling with at the time. Sometimes, listening to the stories that other people share with me is a great way to learn new things. It is always interesting to discover what has shaped their lives and how their lives have been shaped by running. From the moment you meet a runner, you already form an instant connection through a common interest and passion.
Everyone has a story to share and this was mine. Sometimes as a Chiropractor, it is easier to understand how an injury or condition occurred by understanding the way in which the injury happened. In the same way, I hope that you can develop a passion and love for running, by understanding that it is not just about the race, but about the overall experience.
After having over a decade of experience as a Chiropractor, Dr Young has gained much knowledge through her interaction with patients and post-graduate learning course. As she uncovers new and exciting developments in the alternative healthcare field, she loves to share her passion and knowledge with her readers.