Why do you run ?

Why do you run ?

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Running is something easy to do.

That’s the first thing you enjoy a lot after learning how to walk as a toddler. Look at them, once they master the walking skill (or not sometimes !), they start to go faster and naturally start running. No one taught them, they just do it and they have a lot of fun. I still see this in my kids when they run around and around trying to catch each other. Simple pleasures we seem to have forgotten.

Move forward few years, you reader is reading this. Either you’re running already, you’re just starting or contemplating to start running (side note: in that last case how did you end up on my blog ???). It’s important to set goals for your running, they will dictate what you should be doing. I believe we all want to run well, have fun and most of all not be injured (Injury is the worst that can happen to a runner). And to achieve your goals, you need to define them clearly, have a plan to achieve them and execute that plan. It requires a certain level of commitment. So are you ready for that… ?

That’s when you need to dig deep in yourself and answer one simple yet complicated question: Why do yo run ?

Why does it matter ?

Why do you set yourself goals ? To reach those and execute the plan to get there, you have to commit your time. You have to push yourself sometimes hard to get through the training sessions. You have to run late at night or wake up very early.

You have to stop, think and reflect to examine if you’re doing things right sometimes.

You’re doing all of this, but do you even know why ? Why do you run ?

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There is no right or wrong answer to be honest. And that’s fine as soon as you know the answer for yourself at that particular moment in time. It can change over the years, that’s perfectly fine. You start leisurely to make friends then become competitive ? That’s also fine. Again there is no right or wrong, just your own personal answer to that question. Certainly, having found your response will help you commit and get the right thing done, make sure you’re not spending your time on a short term fad activity, which in the end is wasting your time.

Some of the answers possible for “why do you run…”… (non exhaustive list… nonsense and funny ones included). Find yourself !

  • I run to just stay healthy and have physical activity
  • I run to make friends
  • I run to be with my friends
  • I run to escape something (whatever it is)
  • I run to have some “me time”
  • I run to be alone with myself
  • I run to listen to cool music
  • I run to clean my head and reduce stress
  • I run to look cool to others
  • I run to be ahead of others
  • I run because I want to win, I’m a competitive person
  • I run for a cause

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  • I run to help others
  • I run to travel and explore
  • I run to eat
  • I run because I can
  • I run to follow that guy or chick ahead of me
  • I run because I can’t stand being behind people, I need to be ahead
  • I run because my doc told me to do so
  • I run because I want to loose weight
  • I run because I want to keep my weight
  • I run because I like shopping for sport clothes (no joke)
  • I run because my friends or family do so
  • I run because I’m forced to do so socially speaking
  • I run because I enjoy it simply

The answer you find will dictate how committed you will be to achieve your goals. A good example why it is important to know the real reason pushing you to get out and run/exercise is the annual January ritual when people set themselves goals, fitness goals. The bread and butter of gyms: tons of people paying for it but actually not using it. Most of the people go there few times in the first 2 weeks of January. By the 3rd week and at the end of the month, most of have given up. Why ? This doesn’t really make sense…

Well think of it twice, it does make sense: people simply don’t know why they want to do something, they’re just “doing it” and then stop because they actually were never committed to it and realise that wasn’t what they wanted. Break this vicious cycle and be your self motivator, embrace the real reasons why you want to achieve your goals.

Why do I run ?

Before I answer the question, you need to understand how I got into running… I started running years ago but never liked it. I ran more in my 20s after doing one year in a military school, then kept running leisurely. I even did few 10km races back in France with some friends but that was a week end thing. It was to do have more endurance, do some sport to be “healthy” (whatever healthy definition was at that time). Moving to Asia took it’s toll on my running with the hot weather but I kept running in Singapore. Then I stopped, drifting slowly after getting married, being more busy at home and at work, having kids. I remember my wife telling me “go running” and answering “no, I’m just too tired”. That’s very common sadly. Then something clicked at 36… and I started again. To be more healthy certainly but that doesn’t explain it all.

I kept moving through the motions of running more, running longer. That was also peer pressure to some extend as I was in a group of friends running. They all dropped one by one except very few. The remaining ones were those who did not get injured along the way. Classic story sadly… There was a bit of competitiveness also, not trying to be ahead but keeping going. That’s how I ended up running my first ultra. Then everything changed. The smaller community (back in 2014), the friendliness of people and that feeling of greatness when you push your limits as a result of your hard work and dedication, without any sense of competition: that sense of achievement, even though it’s a very personal thing that you don’t share around.

One day I asked myself clearly why I was running and that was my answer at that time, which is still valid at the time of writing:

I run because I do enjoy those long moments without music just focusing on simple things like breathing, putting one step ahead of the other. I don’t particularly think about anything, I just carry myself and get carried by the motion. I run because I like to know and push my limits. I run because I like the challenge of long distance. I run because there is so many challenges on long distance that failing, learning and overcoming them is very satisfying. I run to make friends too, in fact I made a lot of friends running over the years and I’m extremely grateful of this. I’m not a fast runner, just another mid-pack runner I think but I do enjoy getting better and seeing the results of my hard work in my race results. I run because I like to beat myself. I run because I want to run for a long time, because I don’t want to stop running…

And that last piece is important, that’s why I do take time to get things done. One step at a time, not too much too soon. Steady wins the race, that’s the lesson the turtle gave to the rabbit 🙂

Why do they run ?

I’ve been asking that question to few runners known in our running community. They all have in common that they are runners who are doing this for years now and commit to what they do. Hopefully their answers, will inspire you. They certainly did inspire me each in their own way !

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Karsten Korbel, LYN/2XU runner, EMS trainer and blogger at http://www.marathonorange.com

“Running is something very natural and how I see it now, also one of the more sustainable activities one can do. As a kid, teenager and young man I played soccer and volleyball. Very early as a teenager I figured that running can increase my performance in those sports. I spent some of my first earned money in my first pair of running shoes, they were from the still exotic brand “Karhu”. I ran in my neighborhood, on and off road with my Sony Walkman listening to songs I recorded directly from the radio. Those were the good old times.

Being competitive – Today, running for me is much more than only something natural, it became an essential part of my life, it even initiated a career change. Starting competitive running rather late, at the tender age of 40, running is an opportunity to prove myself, an area where I am still looking at considerable progression. I feel that there is still a lot of room for improvement and I am determined to taste it all to the maximum.

Being a coach – Coming from the competitive side I learnt and continue to learn so much about how training affects the body, what workouts are to be chosen for certain objectives that one may have, what to do apart from running, how to avoid injuries, etc. So I developed further into a fitness professional and running coach. The running part for me is still very much hobby. I enjoy the moments I can help runners with their issues, plan and conduct running clinics. Helping to spread the running passion. I believe that running holds a great opportunity for many to lead better lives, find a source for happiness in an otherwise cold world and last but not least contribute to their health.

Being part of a community – Above all this, running is a very social activity. This may come as a surprise as you see us running alone most of the time but the interest in this sport is a common denominator that makes it so easy to meet and get in touch with other runners. I have been enjoying this particular part from the first running event I joined, until today and I know it will be there forever, like an old friend that you always can return to, no matter what.”

Adele Wong, runner, fitness coach and blogger at http://www.adeleruns.com/ –  #adelerunsultra

“Running is a love hate relationship. It gives you so much pain and satisfaction at the same time. I run because I can. it’s fun to push your limits and to see what your amazing body can do. Once you reach your goal, you don’t stop there. You crave for more. And you wonder what else this body can do?! Running makes me feel fit and strong. And I don’t want to lose that. Plus, that post-run high keeps me sane whenever you feel like quitting, remember all the hours you’ve put in to get to where you are today. Every step counts !”

Evelyn Ang Loo, ultrarunner and blogger at http://www.missyblurkit.com

“I run because I enjoy running. I run because it keeps me calm. Running is more than just a physical challenge. I like the mental part of staying focussed whatever the run conditions are. Do I run so that I can eat more? I don’t think so because I am now eating less with running. I have become more conscious of what I put into my body.”

Marlina Ibrahim, ultra runner and blogger at http://linasbackyard.blogspot.my

“I run because I can.
I run because I enjoy the challenge of testing my physical limits.
I run because I find solace in it.
I care not about beating others, but I care about beating my limitations. Physically and mmentally.
I may falter I may not finish a race. I may occasionally PB. I must always have fun.
I must always encourage and not discourage.
Uplift. Not demean.
Motivate not demotivate.
That is why I keep running. Sometimes a lot. Sometimes a little.
But I keep running. I hope others do too.”

Yew Khuay, LYN / 2XU runner, blogger at http://yewkhuay.blogspot.my

“Why do I run now is very different from why do I run back dated 6 years ago. It was about getting back into exercise and getting fit by once a week jogging, occasionally joining events to have some progress benchmarking. The purpose has evolved from just run to self fulfilling goals and targets, from playing it safe to risking it all to explore the limit, until one day some individuals told me that the reason they started to run or run further, is because I shown them it is possible. So why do I run now ? Because I can. Someone ran today, what have you done ?”

Arman hugging his daughter during Route68 Challenge
Arman and his daughter

Arman Ashad, runner and blogger at http://kuchalana.blogspot.my/

“Why You Run.. This is one of the reason (picture).. Beside the pain and other package in the game.. I am looking for the fun part.. having them together with me (in training or game) will make us appreciate each other more. Not necessarily we need to have quality time only in vacation or shopping or at home. Running make “us” together”.

Yim Heng Fatt, ultra runner/ironman and blogger at http://yimster.blogspot.my

“I run … because that’s when the window of my soul opens up to freedom of liberation.”

Aizat Yanan, runner for marathonbaker

“Why do I run ? I run at first to lose weight. I was 107kg in 2011 when I started running. It was hard so I tend to fast walk and jog around the stadium track. My first running event was 12km Energizer Night Run 2011… I felt so good to be able to complete the distance. Post run photo session was the most anticipated moments for me. I had so much fun taking photos with my new and old friends. That’s why running is fun !”

Ee Van Lim aka Tristupe, ironman and blogger at http://www.tristupe.com

“Why I Run : running is the cheapest and easiest exercise anyone can afford. As long as you are able bodied, you are (potentially) an athlete. The benefits of running or exercising in general is akin to investing in a health insurance. I run because I can – and why not when it provides the opportunity to socialise and make friends along the way ?”

Asni Iris Saim, runner and personal trainer

“I run because i love the feeling of feel freedom and i found it is the great way to destress my self. And I choose to commit into long distance runs because i always compare the difficulty of the distance and course with my life events. Which is they makes me stronger and teach me how to be more humble person. The best part, as a personal trainer can apply all my knowledges in my running techniques, preparation, during and after the runs.”

Tnie Ahmad Kamal, runner, pacer for MWM, Nike We run KL, …

“I was not a runner 4 years ago. I never had a running shoes till in 2011 someone bought me a pair of running shoes. Only started to use it a year later to train for Nike We Run KL 2012. Completed my very first 10km event in 1hr 20mins, surprisingly and that’s how it all started. I stop something to start something along the way and running become part of my life and I am enjoying doing it. Why do I run? Why not.”

Lina Kamarudin, runner

“Let me rephrase the question into why do i love being active… There are days that i can just put on my running shoes and go out for a run. And there are days i just like spending time in the gym. I like to have a “me time” 2-3hours a day to find the right mood so that i can be positive all day long. Being active makes you feel younger, stronger and happier… Like they say, a happy wife/mother leads to a happy family…”

Seow Kong Ng, ultra runner and first malaysian having ran a marathon on every continent

“Why do I run ? I play many sports (running, tennis, basketball, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, swimming and cycling). I love all of them. All of them give me high on endorphin. However, none is as accessible as running. Apart from running, you can play the other sports in extreme places like Everest Base Camp, North and South Pole, Amazon Jungle, Sahara Desert, Himalayan mountains and the Alps. With running, you can go from one place to another over different distance, terrains, climate, weather, altitudes and landscapes in different countries and continents. That’s why I run, to subject my mind and body through these elements. Running enrich my life experience, much more than other sports and hobbies.”

What’s next ?

Next post will be more practical certainly… Make a wise choice…
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