1. Running is a natural therapy.
For someone who is extremely sensitive and emotional, I used to get easily affected by people. My resilience level was low and I used to let negativity get to me easily.
Running has slowly healed my body, mind and soul. I don’t believe in ignoring things or keeping pent-up emotions and anger that eventually resurface as much worse. I have built up my resiliency bank over time.
Running not only makes one physically strong, but even mentally resilient. I have become less emotional, less sensitive and less reactive. I care less about what people think of me. I have distant myself from negativity and I react less to negative people.
2. It converts obstacles to challenges.
Like everyone else, I face hindrances and obstacles too. My work demands a lot of flexibility, versatility and adapting to changes. There are times when I feel demoralized and low.
Then I think of my good old running companion; I pick up my shoes, leaving everything behind and run. There is nothing a good run can’t do. No matter how low and depressed I feel, I rebound and get pumped up to face that challenge. Instead of running away from a problem, I am running towards a challenge.
A good run can’t solve your problems but it will give you the strength to find a solution to overcome them.
3. Running frees you.
Running liberates your body and the soul. Despite not being a morning person, I force myself out of bed early, lace up my running gear and I am set to go. No matter how terrible the weather is, or how exhausted I am, I overcome the morning inertia because I am confident that by the end of my run I will feel lighter and energised. Running is an empowering endeavor that has created intrinsic happiness for me.
4. We are meant to run.
Author and super athlete Christopher McDougall proposed that human beings have a natural desire to run. He even gave a talk on ted.com titled ‘Human Beings Are Born To Run,’ where he tells the story of a marathoner and a hidden tribe in Mexico that runs for survival purpose.
I echo McDougall’s argument that human beings are meant to run and running comes very naturally to us.
Running is probably the most straightforward sport and due to its simple nature, runners are naturally more connected with their body. I think running is both organic and primal that is in our veins. Human beings are meant to sweat.
5. It helps you become self-competitive.
Instead of becoming socially-competitive and comparing myself to others, I have become self-competitive. I am not the most fit person and I don’t have the stamina to run a full marathon. I have a long way to go to reach my fitness goals. I don’t eat salads every day. I don’t have abs and my body is not fully toned. But I have managed to participate and complete 10 km competitive runs. I can easily run 5 km without getting breathless. I even trekked Mount Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia for four full days.
Unlike group sports, running is all about you, and you alone.
6. Running disciplines you.
For someone who is extremely undisciplined and overly ambitious, running forces you to be disciplined (without you realizing it).
Over the last five years I have improved time management skills and I make it a point to complete my projects instead of leaving them hanging in the air. As soon you as you discipline yourself that you need to run, you will naturally inculcate a sense of discipline for other endeavors.
7. Running makes you healthy.
Believe it or not, running subconsciously makes one eat and drink healthy. You no longer want to intoxicate your body with junk food. I have cut down on junk food, especially sugar. I used to have terrible cravings for desserts. Now I can’t even have a bite of a chocolate cake, it makes me sick. I have even stopped drinking alcohol except for red wine, and that too in moderation.
8. Connect with yourself.
Living in a city like Singapore, there is so much concreteness. Running helps me to immerse into the “wild”. Every run is a difference experience. The release of endorphins connects you to your senses everything else around you.
Over the years, my work productivity and attention span has improved tremendously, my sinuses are almost cleared, and my priorities are shifted. I no longer look forward to an evening of drinks and clubbing. Rather, I look forward to going home early and spending time with my loved ones.
Running helps you to dig deep and gain access to things that non-runners will never access to.
Running has filled the void in my life; a companion that will never leave my side.