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Feb 4, 2022

For the Love of Running

How much do you love running? Be honest – it’s ok if your answer is “not that much.”

Many of us would rather do anything but run on any given day. That’s understandable – running is a physically strenuous activity and often a mental challenge as well. Although we know the benefits of running as exercise, getting motivated to do it isn’t always easy. Even longtime runners who’ve been leaving it all on the pavement for decades might admit there are many times when they don’t actually love to run.

Especially now, in below-freezing weather, the cold, dark outdoors might not look that inviting compared to your warm, toasty bed. Knowing that your long run day is approaching and you’re just not feeling the idea of 4, 5, 6 or 10+ miles — well, that’s normal too.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about why we should continue to keep going. Take it one step at a time: get out of bed and put on your running clothes. It’s hard to turn back once you’ve already gotten prepared to run, so you might as well head outside or to your exercise equipment.

Let’s say you did get up, you did start your run, and well, it still feels terrible. Give yourself 10 minutes.

The first 10 minutes of a run are always the most difficult, whether you’re an experienced runner or one who’s just getting started. It’s because your heart rate is increasing quickly to fulfill your increased need for oxygen, and your organs are adjusting to this new, more strenuous activity.

Within that first mile, or first 10 minutes, your body begins to get used to the activity, and what initially felt like an ordeal now seems a lot easier. Aren’t you glad you didn’t give up?

If 10 minutes was all you could give, that’s ok too. Your body is telling you that you might be working too hard, too fast, or it’s telling you to slow down after multiple days of strenuous exercise. In those 10 minutes though, you made an investment in your health.

Each time, I vow to run just for 10 minutes. It’s just the equivalent of a lengthy commercial break or the extended version of a 1970s funk or disco song – you look up and before you know it, 10 minutes have ticked off the clock.

There’s also a common saying that no one ever regrets a workout. I know that’s true for me with running. I think about how great I’ll feel after my run when I’m struggling to get going. I repeat that mantra to myself often as I put on my workout clothes and prepare to get started.

Even if I’m exhausted, I always feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of a run and get that feeling many call the “runner’s high.” I almost want to get back out there and keep going or start again, even though I know I’m done.

It’s that feeling, along with the all the health benefits I experience over time, that began my love affair with running. And that love keeps growing strong with every step I take.

By Shannon Shelton Miller /Twitter: ShannonSMWrites, Instagram: shannon.shelton1

Shannon Shelton Miller is a longtime writer and journalist who enjoys writing about sports, fitness, health, beauty, and parenting. She has been running for 27 years, starting from joining her high school cross country team. She has run a marathon, two half marathons, and countless 5K and 10K races.