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Why Should YOU Run?
What are the benefits of running?
Why do I Run? I have never been a runner, in fact for most of my life I’ve hated running.
I am a short, 45-year-old man. My knees, ankles and feet hurt most days and my back causes me more trouble than all my children put together!
I’ve known for a long time how exercise can be physically and mentally beneficial but in recent years I’ve let it slide.
However, 2 years ago my wife and I decided to try and get a bit fitter.
It was all going nicely until my wife declared that she and her best friend had signed up for the half marathon in our home city……
Shit just got real!
She started training like a demon and was an inspiration to me. I signed up too, but due to injury and a minor yet painful operation, I didn’t take part.
My wife and her friend did run it though and I was hugely proud of them both watching them cross the finish line.
What did this whole experience teach me?
Well for starters…
I learnt that my wife is a total bad-ass.
She’d gone from someone who had never run before to a running addict, her well-being had increased tenfold.
For me, though it reminded me that running on a regular basis is fabulous for physical and mental health.
Like many people both my wife and I have suffered from depression in the past and anxiety is always a monkey on my back.
I knew that I would do well to follow my wife’s lead and continue running, even if it was only once a week. We have been doing Parkrun religiously since.
We rarely drink alcohol on a Friday night now (something that we often did to excess) as this would spoil our run. Starting Saturday with a 5 km (3.1 miles) really sets the tone for a happy, rejuvenating weekend.
UPDATE: My wife is about to complete her 50th Parkrun this weekend (I am on 39).
What is Parkrun?
Parkrun has 5 basic principles “weekly, free, 5km, for everyone, forever”.
Parkrun started in London, England in 2004 and has spread like wildfire across the planet. There are now events across at least 17 countries including the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and various European countries.
You register on their website and print your barcode that you get scanned when you finish, this generates your time and it gets emailed to you or sent as a text the same day.
Some countries also have junior Parkruns on a Sunday morning too, but the younger ones do a 2 km run.
There are hundreds of people who run, from super-speedy running gods to people who walk it. Individuals, couples and families are always present.
It’s a very friendly event and you also get a free t-shirt at several milestone runs (50, 100, 250, 500).
Have a look on the Parkrun website and find your local run, sign up and give it a go.
What’s the worse that can happen? It’s free, it’s good for you and you might just make some new friends.
If there is no Parkrun near you or you may not be able to run 5km (3.1 miles) yet then just run!
Find a nice area (or anywhere…even on your own street) and run.
You may start at 1km or less, you may have to keep stopping and walking for a bit.
It doesn’t matter.
Do something. If you are out there doing it you are already doing more than those who are not!
What are the Benefits of Running?
Running is a regular part of my life now, our relationship status has gone through several stages, starting with “hatred” through “complicated” to where we are now, “married”.
I still ask my self “why should I run?” When I wake up early on a Saturday morning, I usually don’t want to run, my wife gives me a metaphorical (but sometimes physical) kick and off we go.
After the run it’s a different matter: I’m energised, my mood is lifted and I actually feel relaxed.
UPDATE December 2019:
We now do a long run on Sunday morning together, which is tough but very rewarding. It really sets me up for the week ahead.
I’ve completed a 10k race, reduced my Parkrun PB to a respectable (and prior to running an impossible) 24:21. Frankly, I find this amazing. Also, I’ve lost 26lbs!
I’ve even followed in my wife’s footsteps and signed up for a half marathon in Feb 2020 (she has now done 4 half marathons and countless 10km races…she is very proud of her medals!)
It’s not all been plain sailing though, far from it. Both my wife and I have been through large bouts of depression in the last year.
I am convinced it has been the running that has contributed to my mental health recovery.
I promise that whilst it might not be easy, if you persevere, you will get better, fitter, happier and you will end up hooked on running.
I can confidently say this as a man who really hated running for 95% of my life!
If you have any questions or need any advice, please comment below and I’ll do my best to help.
Also, feel free to share your story below too.
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