8.17.2011

Running, Exercise, and Me






I'm not sure if it's just me (or rather, just my friends), but I seem to be one of the only people that hasn't joined the running club. These days it's normal to see Facebook status updates about how many miles someone ran at some insane hour of the morning - with or without their dog. I've lost track of the number of people who are running their first 5K or half-marathon. And it's not just casual Facebook acquaintances, I feel like I see more people running and/or walking around our town than I ever have before.

I've got some theories as to why this is:

A) It's "free" - and since everyone is watching their pennies a bit more these days, they are also looking for ways to exercise that don't cost them a gym membership fee. But you'll notice I have "free" in quotes, and that's because I also hear the talk about the pricey running shoes, outfits, iPods and watches - none of which appear to be one-time purchases and then they are done. Just sayin'...

B) People are more aware of their health. They have finally discovered that exercise really is good for them and they are trying to get back into those jeans they thought they would never wear again (only to discover they were so far out of style, they wouldn't want to wear them now that they could). I admit, last year I started walking so that I could shed a few pounds...once the pounds came off, the treadmill went silent.

C) It's a social activity. I know of groups of people who run together or train to run a marathon together or who simply like the camaraderie of running in a pack. I don't have that kind of personality, and I know not everyone else does, which is why we have reason D...


D) It's a way to escape. I have other friends who are running because it's the only time they can be by themselves - no kids or husband/wife or stressful job. It's a way to be out in nature and enjoy the peace and solitude that (I've heard) running can offer.

And finally, we have theory E) It's popular. I honestly believe that it's a fad at the moment, but I also know that some people started running to try to loose weight or because their friends were, and then they actually found that they enjoyed doing it - just because. Well, good for you, because I'm all for running if you enjoy it (which I don't).

Like I said, we own a treadmill - a very nice one in fact. It was used on a daily (or almost daily) basis in 2010, but 2011 has kept us so busy that it has only been used a few times since we rang in the new year. I'm a fast walker, but for some reason, saying that you're a walker just doesn't have the same cool factor as saying that you're a runner. There's no unspoken "walking club" like there is for runners.

If you want total honesty (when have you ever NOT had that from me?!), I just don't enjoy exercise. I mean, when I was faithful about walking, I liked the way I felt and the extra energy that I had, but I don't miss it when I don't do it. After a long day at work, the last thing I feel like doing is lacing up my tennis shoes and getting on the treadmill. In fact, if you need me, I'll be on the couch with my fleece robe, my wicked good moccasins, a cup of tea and a book.

If you run (or walk or exercise in some way), why do you do it? Do you love it? Hate it? Have any advice for those who are more at home on a couch than on the pavement? Am I alone in a world of runners?

8 comments:

  1. I love to exercise. I do not LOVE to run. But I run anyway. Why?

    1. Alone time. I currently run at the gym (Y) because it is 110 degrees outside. The Y has free childcare so it doesn't cost me any extra than the membership fee.

    2. It makes my body look amazing. Especially my butt. Haha.

    3. I feel like a million bucks after pushing my body further than I thought it could go.

    4. It exercises the mind. Running is about 90% mental.

    5. I run first and then I can move on to exercises I really love. Like crunches!

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  2. I started out a lot like you. I have HATED to exercise most of my life. I don't like to sweat or have a sore side or feel like I can't breathe.

    I started running last year because I was having a medical issue. I'd read that exercise could help improve the effects of my issue. At the time, I picked running because it was free. I also started doing it in the winter time and the weather here is SO nice then... I liked being outside. I started pretty cheaply. I refused to buy a new pair of running shoes until I had stuck with running for awhile (actually, I ended up with a new pair when my old tennis shoes fell apart!). Once it started getting too hot to run outside (really, I'm not going to run in 100 degrees), I joined a gym. I paid $100 for the whole year which has kept me going (I'm going to make that investment worth it!). Since joining, I started some weight machines too. I like how much more toned they make me feel!

    But running remains my exercise of choice. It is hard to do and most of the time I'm doing it, I find myself talking myself into NOT stopping. But I like how I feel after I finish... and accomplish a certain milage or pace. I did a 5K in the spring and found it exhilarating!

    I think my favorite thing about exercising is how much it changes my mood. I just feel really good when I'm constantly exercising. I can tell when I've NOT been exercising. I just don't feel as good!

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  3. I'm a bit like you in that I don't like to run for the sake of running. However, place a soccer ball in front of me and I'll run until I drop. I am no longer allowed to run due to a couple of accidents which resulted in the damage and removal of all the cartilage in my right knee. If God allowed it, I would run, and run, and run! Running helps you to escape the moment. It's liberating as well!

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  4. I've yet to jump on the "runner" bandwagon either... I walk Harvey just about every day (running with him would be a disaster - one of us would die - either me from tripping over him and breaking my neck when he abruptly stopped to sniff something, or him from me falling on top of him and crushing him!), but running is just not for me. I blame it on the "Pearson bad knees" I seem to have inherited from my Papaw... I do like the way I feel when I work out though (and of course, I want all the health benefits), so I'm currently doing the 30 Day Shred and walking the dog in the back field. It works for me.... :o)

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  5. I exercise. It is sometimes a social activity here when there are others willing to walk with me in the morning, but for the last few months I have been solo. I do it because I feel like I need to for my health. I am also trying to lose the pregnancy weight from 2 babies that never came off after they were born! I do not enjoy it, but I do it anyway. I walk fast, or alternate jogging/walking for an "interval" type workout. I also do weight training with a video and sometimes other videos such as 30 Day Shred. I don't post about my exercise on Facebook or my blog. Just don't feel the need to do so. But then again I'm not training for a marathon or anything like that.

    I do agree with you that running is the exercise "du jour" these days. And for some reason a lot of people feel like they have to share about their running prowess. I do agree that all the "accessories" can get expensive, but honestly if someone joined a gym they would probably still buy the shoes, the clothes, etc. I have put very little money into my exercise endeavors and feel like I have reaped lots of rewards.

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  6. I'm an on-again-off-again runner.

    But I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to dance. Since I'm currently earning some extra money by teaching a dance class at the Y, I also exercise several times a week because I promised to do that when I started a class. But getting paid to do something I love is pretty awesome. The fact that it's good for me too is just icing on the cake.

    Cake - that reminds me. I also exercise so I can eat whatever the heck I want without guilt.

    Once the weather calms down a bit and I'm able to be outside without nearly fainting from heat exhaustion, I'd like to start running again. Mostly because of how I feel AFTER. The run itself is nowhere near as wonderful as the sense of accomplishment once it's finished.

    {But, you're right, it isn't FREE.}

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  7. Wow! I did not expect to get the number of responses (both in the comments and on FB) that I did when I posted this. It was really interesting to hear what all you runners and exercisers had to say about why you do it. It sounds like it's an even split between people who really love it and those who don't enjoy it, but have the self-discipline to do it anyway. My hats off to the second group especially as that would be the catagory into which I fall (without the self-discipline to actually move it-move it). ;-) I have to say that I have been encouraged to try again after reading all the responses, so thanks much for taking the time to write and share your thoughts!

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  8. I don't run. I HATE running. I've tried incorporating short spurts of running into walks before but it never gave me any kind of euphoric feeling that sparked a desire for me. I MIGHT have felt accomplished with my short running spurts, I don't remember, but either way it was not worth it to me. I love walking. Once I get out the door. The motivation to GO is the hard part for me, but once I do I am always so glad afterward. I'll stick with my walks, and with my 10-Minute Solutions Pilates. Love the way they make me feel. That's good enough for me. =)

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