January 13, 2022

10 Reminders of Why I Loved Running

Since I started the Couch to 5K plan in May to get back into running, I've been writing about my running progress on Thursdays. Today, I have no progress to report, unfortunately. My last run was last Thursday!

I don't know why I'm having such a hard time sticking with it after doing so well all summer and fall. So, I thought I'd write this post about all the reasons I used to love running. And maybe that will give me the "feel goods" and I'll feel that urge to get back to it--regularly. So here goes...

1. The Runner's High.

There is nothing like it! (Well, except maybe when I was on like 27 different pain meds after I broke my jaw, but that doesn't count.) A Runner's High doesn't happen very often. It's not something that you feel every time you go out for a good run. I've only experienced it probably 10 times since becoming a runner. It feels like you are on top of the world; you can do anything. There is absolutely nothing negative going through your mind.

My most memorable runner's high was when I nailed my "Best 10K Workout" for the 10K I trained so hard for. This run was a tip from Greg McMillan on one of his training plans. I didn't follow his plan, but he *guaranteed* that if you could complete this workout, you would reach your goal on race day. I had to run 3 x 2 miles at race pace. My race pace was 7:55/mile. This post describes my workout that day. It was fun to read it just now ;)  And here is the picture I took afterward. That smile/Jerry face was 100% genuine!

2. Feeling like there was something special about me.

I don't know what population of the world considers themselves runners, but I imagine it's pretty small. And I really liked calling myself a runner. It made me feel like I was part of an elite group of people who share a common bond. With running, there is always something to talk about when you meet another runner--races you've done, what got you started, what your training is like, etc. I liked running outside and imagining that people would see me and think, "Man, I should start running." (Yes, it's pretentious of me.)

That one time I was in Runner's World magazine. Dream come true!

3. Setting goals and working hard to reach them.

My running goals over the years have been big and small. My first goal was to be able to run a mile without stopping. Some others were to run a mile under 13:00 minutes; a mile under 10:00 minutes; run a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, marathon; run personal records in each of those; successfully pace a friend at a race; and so many, many more. Even running the Couch to 5K was a goal of mine in May--I wanted to complete the entire program (and I did).

It took me three tries to complete this 8-mile run!

4. My regular running routes.

I can tell you the exact distance from my house to just about any point on the peninsula where I live. I know about 10 different 3-mile routes from my house. I knew what dogs lived in which houses, the routines of people who worked outside in their gardens or what time they left for work, and I saw "regulars" on my routes--usually walkers. During Halloween, I especially love to see the skeleton decorations.

5. My body felt harder. Literally.

My body fat got down to 19% when I was training for my 10K (it's closer to 30% now), and I loved that when I pushed on my abs, I could actually feel muscle there. My legs were still jiggly from loose skin, but when I flexed them, I could feel the muscle underneath. I could sit comfortably without my legs falling asleep or having to shift positions. My body just felt COMFORTABLE--and I crave that more than anything right now. I remember when I preferred jeans instead of stretchy black pants! Hahaha.

Feeling comfortable enough to run in just my sports bra (only in my home, though!)

6. Getting outside.

I'm definitely more of an "indoors girl"--I prefer to stay inside most of the time--but there is something about running in nice weather that just puts me in a great mood. Breathing in the clean air (unless it's Monday--garbage collection day!), feeling the breeze evaporate my sweat, seeing all the houses I was used to seeing. Everything was so familiar.

7. Feeling good about getting in exercise for the day.

After a run, no matter how good or bad it went, I always felt good about myself for doing it. My body felt tired and my mind felt at ease--like I'd really accomplished something.

8. The numbers.

Being a total numbers nerd, I loved looking at the data of my pace, my heart rate, how much faster I ran since the previous run, what my pace needs to be to hit a PR, etc. I miss looking at the data.

9. Following an actual running schedule.

I've tried umpteenth times to do this ever since May, and I just can't seem to get back to it. I remember printing out a schedule and crossing off each workout as I did it. It felt so good! And I felt bad about myself if I skipped it for no reason at all. Skipping a run didn't used to be an option; I just did it, no matter what. It was a regular part of my day and I always figured out a way to work it in, no matter how busy I was.

You can find all of my training plans here

10. I had less anxiety.

Now, I feel anxiety all day long and I know that I could at least cut that in half if I would go for a run. Running feels like part of a "to do" list and when I procrastinate, it gives me anxiety. Checking off a run first thing in the morning set my mood for the whole day. If I ran that morning, I felt so much better about myself.

And there it is. Ten reasons I really loved (love?) to run. It's so hard to keep these things in mind every morning when I dread the thought of dressing for the cold outside or dressing to hop on the treadmill and watch the time pass slowly.

If I had to put it in a nutshell, my top three reasons for making myself JUST DO IT are these:

1) It makes my body feel good all day long.
2) It takes away at least half of my anxiety each time I run.
3) I want to feel COMFORTABLE in my body. Not just mentally, but literally--sitting, standing, walking, lying down, naked, clothed, whatever--just comfortable.

Will this help me this next week? I have no idea. But it's worth thinking about. I really ought to print this out and post it next to my bathroom mirror. If I can just get in the habit of running in the morning again, I think I'll feel a million times better.

If you want to share, please tell: what do you love about running?

Desk Calendar pages for today: Some of the someecards are pretty lame (today's included), so I'm only going to post the ones that I like. However, the random trivia is fun! Today's was especially cool; I've written about "tortitude" before in regards to Estelle (who is a tortie). She's definitely talkative and sassy! (I wouldn't use the word "aggressive", however.)

Another fun fact: 99.6% of tortoiseshell cats are female!


  1. Thank you for these reminders. Less anxiety is definitely my #1 reason to run. Also less depression. I just feel better even if I've only slow jogged a mile. And wow I didn't know that about tortoise kitties. Those cards are so fun.

  2. I really envy you your treadmill! We have an exercise bike, and I do Leslie Sansone's walking workouts on DVD, but there is nothing like running and it's too cold right now (and wet) to run outside!

  3. I don't have amazing self-confidence, but I've found that I like myself better when I run. When I can call myself a runner. I'm an early morning runner. If I don't get up at 4 or 5 and get it over with, it probably won't happen, and I don't want it to not happen, so I get up. And when I'm out there, doing it, and at the end, I praise myself MIGHTILY in my head. Nobody else is going to tell me how awesome I am and how proud of me they are, so I make sure I'm sufficiently proud of myself. Somehow it works. Plus.. the feeling of Having Run is amazing.

    I know different things motivate different people, but have you considered a group or an individual coach? Doesn't have to be in person, but having other people doing the same thing you are, or having a person who looks at your runs to see if you're doing them, and follows up with you if you're not.. it can really be useful to keep you motivated. Individual coaching sounds like it's fancy and for Real Runners, but trust me, it's for us pretend runners, too. :D

  4. You've motivated me to run! I don't enjoy running in the moment, so much, but I love how I feel for the rest of the day afterwards. I'm always a little restless on the weekends without getting a run in (I run M-F). I haven't had a runner's high yet, but I also run for relatively short runs (3 miles).


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