Although we should take time to remember why we are thankful year-round, this time of year seems to really ask us to sit back and think about all the things in life we have to be grateful for.
In reality, even on our worst days, we have more than some will ever dream of. When you dump your Starbucks on your lap, remember that someone out there is going without a meal today. When the pipes burst in your house, be grateful you have a home. When someone rear-ends you at a stoplight, be thankful you have a reliable form of transportation. When your dog eats your socks, be grateful you have something to keep your feet warm and a loving pet that you're able to care for both physically and financially.
So this leads us to our topic for today. Why we are thankful to run. Of course you may have something to add to this list, but here are a few reasons to be grateful for the ability to run.
1. Health Benefits
Many of you began running for the health benefits. Even if you didn't, you know one of the reasons you lace up and head out the door is to reap these benefits. Studies have found that not only does running help you lose weight, stay fit, relieve stress, burn calories, and clear your mind, but it also helps reduce the risk of breast cancer, provides increased healthy cholesterol readings, provides protection from osteoporosis, and assists in preventing heart disease. What more can you ask for?
2. Stress Relief
For some runners, this is the main reason they run. While this could be categorized under health benefits, running for stress relief is really in a category of its own. Think about how you feel when you are upset. You put on your shoes and hit the road. You fly. You run HARD. You might cry a little. You might not be able to breathe because you're so mad. You might stop for a minute and look at something you've never noticed before. How do you feel when you're done? Yep. That feeling. We need that. Thank you, running.
You guys!!! We are fortunate to have this group, and we are grateful for the relationships we are building with each of you. It's nice to see different groups of runners coming together to train and work toward new goals. These relationships are based upon something unique - an ability to understand what it feels like to hurt, win, lose, hit the wall, run far, run fast, fun slow, feel like crap, blow a snot rocket, have stomach issues, trip over the sidewalk, and much more. While running alone certainly has it's benefits, building relationships through the sport provides a sense of unity and confidence. Plus, these relationships slowly start to extend beyond running, and tend develop into lifelong friendships.
4. New Experiences
Think of all the new things running has allowed you to try. For some of you, you had never completed a speed workout until you joined TFC. Many of you are starting to run longer and faster. Running has likely also allowed you to travel to places you may not otherwise have visited. These new experiences shape us as individuals and allow us to grow both in running and in life.
5. Sense of Purpose/Lifestyle
We've all had those days when we felt grumpy, sluggish, and yes - fat. We didn't want to run. We wanted to eat cake, watch Netflix in bed, and be lazy. But, as we begin to grow as runners and implement healthy living and fitness as a lifestyle, we are more likely to feel confident in life. Additionally, we begin to really want to run, as we know we will feel better (unless of course you're resting due to an injury). Take a minute to remember how much happier you are when you run. Think about how much running has given to you, and how it has helped shape you as a person.
Runners like food. Running allows us to eat. We aren't saying that we can go eat 3 large cheese pizzas because we ran a 5k, but running does allow us the freedom to enjoy life and food a little bit more. Want a doughnut? Go ahead. We try to stick to a fairly healthy diet because we know we feel better when we eat well, plus we tend to run faster. But, it's nice to know we worked hard and can treat ourselves!
Trails provide us with a great chance to get into nature and back to our roots. They keep us away from the pavement and bustle of everyday life. They allow us to really think, clear our heads, and become one with nature. Leave the headphones at home. Just listen. Listen to the wind in the trees. Listen to your feet on the trail. Listen to the animals shuffling in the woods, and be reminded of your place in this vast universe.
8. Every Step Out The Door/On the Treadmill
Not every run is enjoyable. Some really hurt. Some just flat out suck. But rejoice in the fact you are able to get out the door or hop on the treadmill. Not everyone is so lucky.
9. Using Our Talents
No, no one here is an Olympic champ and none of us have won Boston or London. But, that doesn't mean we don't have a talent we can use to help others. We have an ability and we have the ability to make the most of our ability. Put in the miles and watch yourself improve. Keep a positive attitude and help new runners grow. Give back to your community by directing or volunteering at races. Put in the work - when you look at your watch as you cross the finish line and realize that you did something you once thought impossible - now that's something to be thankful for.
10. Supportive Family
Without a supportive spouse, partner, and family members, running would be much more difficult. Take a moment to be grateful for and to thank those in your life who make running possible for you. Thank your spouse who watches the kids so you can run at 5am. Thank your children for making signs to cheer you through your first marathon. Thank your family for standing in the cold, pouring rain to watch you finish your first race. Some of us are lucky enough to have our spouse or partner as a running buddy. This is a wonderful gift. Even if you're not the same pace, be grateful to have someone who knows what training is truly like. Tell them thank you for their support, then sign up for a race together!
Take a moment to remember how great you have it, even when you feel like your world is a mess. We are blessed. Take a minute to smile at someone today. Say hello to a stranger. Buy coffee for the guy behind you. Offer to go for a run with a newbie. Take your elderly neighbor grocery shopping. Learn about and volunteer with a new charity. Walk a shelter pet and watch the joy on their face. Say thank you to someone you know doesn't hear it often. Be a blessing to someone else.
Also, remember that you may be an inspiration to someone else. Even when you feel like a failure or that you cannot complete a workout, remember that someone looks up to you. Within our group, we know many of you look up to others for various reasons. Remember this, and keep working hard. Be thankful that you have qualities others desire.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. We will see you on Wednesday for a fun cat and mouse workout. It sounds fun, but be prepared to work!
Who Picks the Topics?
Each week, we notice different things. We try to incorporate the questions we are receiving or the training issues we are noticing into our post(s) for the week. If there is something you'd like us to cover, let us know!