What Can Running Do For You
Do you feel like running is a physical exercise, boring and a “must do” for health? If so then it’s time to open your eyes and see beyond appearances so you can enjoy and love running.
I am the kind of person who likes to look beyond appearances. I believe there is always something more than just what we see at first glance.
When I was asked what can running do for someone it was difficult for me to put into words what I feel when I run and what it can do when you leave aside the physical benefits such as:
• weight loss
• cardiovascular fitness
• tone your body
• strengthen your body
My longest nonstop run was on 11th of Sept 2010 when 44.172 km in 3h 27min 42sec in Bucharest, Herastrau Park. Since then I did many other runs under 30km and recently obstacle course races.
My longest OCR was Spartan Beast on the 9th of November 2013, 25km, 75 obstacles finished in 3 hours 41 minutes and 2 seconds.
The “other” benefits of running
We focus a lot on the weight loss side of running. That’s probably because we are all paying a lot of attention on obesity. Messages regarding obesity are in our faces every day. If we looked beyond these things, then obesity would disappear as well.
So what are the other benefits of running that not many talk or write about? Well this is my personal experience but I am sure there are many runners out there who would agree that when you run:
• You let go.
You let go of stress, worry, plans, work, responsibilities and housework.
• You begin to see a different side of yourself.
Running is more than just physical movement, it requires consistency, dedication, resilience and discipline. You cannot become a runner if you do not run on a regular basis. When you become a runner your body changes but most importantly your mind changes as you face challenges after challenges. After that many of your other problems will seem small and insignificant.
• You reach “the zone” or the “runner’s high”.
This has to do with endorphins. The greater the endorphin surge in certain areas of the brain, the more euphoric a runner feel. Well this is what every runner is searching for. That moment when everything disappears and you “just run”, nothing else matters. To get the runner’s high you have to push yourself hard but not too hard.
• You solve problems.
Here I have to tell you my own experience. There are phases you may experience when you run:
• first your mind is flooded with thoughts. It’s like a waterfall, they all come at once.
• after a while, depending on how busy your brain is, thoughts start to fade
• then your mind goes quiet, there is finally silence
• but then you start getting ideas, solutions to problems and get creative.
There is research done on why this happens. The thing is that many times on my runs I create blogs, art work and I have brilliant ideas.
It all has to do with letting go of stress, with brain oxygenation, improved blood circulation to the responsible areas of the brain.
It’s not a random thing that just happens. But leaving science aside for a moment, try to just enjoy this pure feeling rather than analyse why it’s happening.
[tweetthis]We get so caught up in scientific evidence and forget to just enjoy the moment.[/tweetthis]
You see, it’s not what you do but how it leaves you feeling. That’s it. Scientific proof will not make you feel happy. Knowledgeable yes, and that’s important, but happy …. not so much.
How long does it take to reach that stage where you can let go?
You can “let go” and just run when you are comfortable with running. I wish I could give you an exact time frame. It depends on a lot of factors such as:
• if you have injuries and how long do those take to recover
• how much you run and train for running
• what you do besides running to build up your running, such as breathing techniques
• how dedicated you are
• why you want to run
• how disciplined you are
• whether you are coached or not
How can you reach that level where you can let go?
There is some good amount of work to put into it. After I injured myself back on August 2014 I haven’t reached that stage since.
When I recover I’d have to resume my running training well under my normal level. I’ll have to built up again.
But what you should think about is the process, the journey, not the destination. You may or may not find “the zone” for a very long time. Don’t aim for that, just enjoy your run.
As a beginner what is the first step?
Because of my experience with injuries in the past and then moving onto a new style of running which proved to be more beneficial, if I was a beginner I’d want to be coached so I could:
• learn a running technique which puts less pressure on joints
• learn how to hold my posture so I don’t close up my body and restrict breathing
• be pushed outside my comfort zone and make progress
• learn how to breathe properly so I can enjoy my run
• train my body in a multilateral and creative way because running is a full body movement
A good running techniques looks at the following major components:
• stride and pace
• landing and kick off
• using gravity instead of force
• arm movement, angle and hand position
• leg and foot movement
• hips movement
• breathing rhythm
Are you looking to start running or take running at the next level? Running is my passion and I’d love to give you some advice. Book a FREE call with me and come with a few questions.