Whether you have recently taken up running, are considering it, or have been a runner for a few years now, you probably are well aware of its benefits. It might be making you huff and puff, and you might be asking yourself “Why am I doing this” repeatedly, but stick with it long enough, and you’ll find yourself with more energy, a healthier body, a healthier mind, less weight (if that is the goal), better-fitting clothes… the list goes on.
But somewhere down the miles, chances are you have also discovered that running has changed your life in ways you didn’t quite expect. All the new friends you’ve made, for example: who knew you could meet someone in your mid-30s and not even two runs later, you are discussing bathroom habits or spilling your guts to each other? (The latter: not literally, I hope!)
Below are 10 ways running has changed my life over the past 20-some years — and I love it! And since I’m hardly a special snowflake that enjoys the special benefits of running all by herself, I dare say these are probably ways running has or will change your life, too — and I hope you love it just as much as I do.
1. Your body is no longer your shell. It is your engine. Instead of seeing all its flaws when you look in the mirror, you see a body that works for you to enjoy a healthy lifestyle — and for that, you love and respect it.
2. Drinks with friends increasingly begin to mean sipping an electrolyte beverage at 5 a.m. before or during your run. Or coffee and bagels after you’re done.
3. You no longer scream and run when you hear the word “carbohydrate.” Speaking of bagels… or oatmeal, or pancakes. Rather than avoiding the “evil” carbs, you load on them before a long run, or use them to replenish your reserves after.
4. In fact, you no longer eat and drink. You fuel and hydrate.
5. You have recently bought your first bulk-size tub of Vaseline. Or this weird deodorant-type thing you had no clue existed before — or at the very least would have expected to belong in a totally different type of store — called Body Glide. Buy the largest size available, or you’ll find yourself in need of a new one much too soon.
6. Previously random-looking decimal numbers like 6.2, 13.1 and 26.2 suddenly mean a whole lot. You wear them on t-shirts and trucker hats, and proudly display them on your car’s bumper.
7. Upon joining the 13.1 or 26.2 bumper sticker club, you suddenly begin to see them everywhere. Then a miracle happens: you begin to form wordless bonds on the road. A friendly wave, a thumbs up, a smile: when was the last time you ever showed this type of kindness to another driver?
8. You sleep in on weekdays and wake up at dark o’clock on the weekend for a long run or race. And you love it, because you when you open Facebook at 5 a.m. on Saturday, all your runner friends are already online!
9. You find it harder to make small talk at parties — until somehow, luckily, you bump into another runner. But how can you spot the runners in a crowd of strangers? Wearing a 26.2 or 13.1 necklace helps… or look for chiseled calf muscles and runner tan. (You know the saying, right? “How do you know someone runs marathons? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you!”)
10. In fact, you increasingly find yourself at fewer and fewer partiers — unless they are the “pasta” kind.
[tweetthis]No matter the details, few will deny that running makes us see ourselves and the world around us differently.[/tweetthis]
And what a beautiful world it is, isn’t it?