Running Tuesdays: The Gift of Running

The question is why.

  • Why get up at 5am period, first of all? And then you go run?
  • Why put your body through it? What about your knees?
  • Why run when you can swim, bike, or at least use the elliptical?

That last one is easy. The elliptical was designed by the devil. Biking bores me. Swimming? I do it, but mostly for cross training or when my legs need a break. But do I love it? About like eating yogurt when you want ice cream.

Now about the body, that one is a little more complicated. If you haven’t already, google “is running good for you,” and you’ll find articles arguing both sides. It seems everyone agrees running isn’t for everyone. Not all bodies are built for it. Yet, many bodies thrive on it, even the pain of it. Here’s an article about pain, in particular the pain that runners, like ultra marathoners, tend to actually crave. As for the knees, thankfully mine haven’t been a problem for me. I believe that’s mostly due to making right choices about shoes, stretching, and rest. Speaking of right choices for the body, I certainly could do more cross training (look for more on this subject in the future). That is where the body is shored up to withstand the life of a runner. For me, I’m fortunate that running is for me and, of course, side with those who believe running is good for the body.

Scott Jurek says he runs to test his body and mind. Good for him. I’m fine with the tests my body and mind have passed and don’t feel the need to prove anything else in those areas. My reason for running is quite simple. I enjoy it. The struggle. The movement. The freedom. The solitude. The choice to think or not to think. The release. The joy. And when you cross a finish line knowing that you enjoyed the journey and completed what you committed to, you are stronger and have the peace of accomplishment. The pain is worth it.

Ryan Hall says he runs because God gifted him to, and he believes it glorifies God to use that gift. I’m no Ryan Hall. But I do thank God for giving all of us the gift of running.

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