First-time Marathoner Explains it All: Top Five Best Things about Running

Running is hard. It takes time and patience to get to a point where it’s actually fun. But once you get there, it’s such a relief to be able to lace up and go for an easy run after a stressful day. I used to have a handbook of excuses to get out of running when I was in figure skating – and softball and soccer and gym class. Running hurt. It was hard. But I didn’t know how to make it easier until I got a coach. Now that it’s been part of my life for so long, what are, in my opinion, the five best things about running?

Running is Great for Cardio and Fitness

Running has many benefits on your body – from weight loss to cardio fitness, it can leave you feeling like a superhero after incorporating running into your life. It generally burns a lot of calories, which can help lead to weight loss and management, thus alleviating pressure on your joints and cardiovascular system and helping to regulate your cholesterol and blood pressure. This can all help maintain good health for the long run (pun intended).

Helps Boost Your Mood – No, Really

I have seen and felt this personally. After running, I usually feel like I can take on the world – who needs the magic of Disney when you can have that runners high? But did you know that regular exercise can improve your mood and help reduce depression and anxiety? There’s a reason I’ll grab my Brooks after a stressful day for a quick. easy mile or two. It doesn’t have to be long, either – studies have shown that only 30 minutes a day of exercise are needed for that boost. Exercise can also help you sleep better – and who isn’t at least a little more pleasant after a solid sleep?

You Meet New (Other Crazy) People

I’ve made some pretty great friends through running. While, yeah, one of them stalked me for a couple weeks before approaching me in the dark in her car to ask about my running and my schedule (which I did not give her initially), they’re all really incredible people. Even if you start running and find yourself stalker-free (probably a good thing), look into joining a run club in your area and sign up for local races. Or, you can recruit other potential runners. While so many people make fun of runners for getting up at stupid-o-clock, willingly exhausting ourselves before the day even starts, and needing naps by 2 pm, running is infectious. I’ve sucked many people already in my life into the running life. If the runner’s high doesn’t hit them, the promise of being able to eat extra snacks will.

Running is a Confidence-booster

By nature, I am a shy person. Which, I guess, is why I love writing. But there comes a time when everyone has to come out of their shell and grab life by the reins. Running, along with a few other things, has been a major player in helping me gain confidence – in both my personal and professional life. I don’t know if it’s the sheer insanity taking over (really, who decides they want to run another marathon a day after completing their first?), or if it’s the confidence, but I’ll take it either way. Look out, world.

Support Charities through Races

Whether you run with a charity or donate to the race’s charity of choice, there are so many opportunities to support a cause you believe in. So, while you’re bettering yourself, you’re also supporting someone else. When I registered for my first marathon, I found out the charity we’d be supporting was the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – a foundation that was very near and dear to my grandmother who’d spent almost 10 years battling cancer. Supporting that charity made this marathon even more special.

So, what are you waiting for? Race season is coming to an end here in Florida, but spring is just getting starting up north. Run that first race, get a good base, and watch yourself improve over the summer! Just please make sure you hydrate with water and electrolytes.

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