"Go running? You must be mad! You'll have arthritis in your knees before you reach forty." That's just one of the many common reactions from non-runners at the very mention of going for a run. So why go running? Well here are a few reasons...
Running is great for building cardiovascular strength, muscles, bones and joints. As long as you don't overdo it, you will soon feel the benefits to your body. Running is one of the simplest and cheapest sports to participate in. Contrary to some expert opinion, you don't need expensive shoes or technology, especially for shorter runs. Running requires minimal prepartion - just get your kit on and open the front door.
Join one or two friends for a chat while running. If you're running too fast to hold a conversation then slow down. Running at a pace where you can just still talk is great for building running fitness and improving the pace you can hold for a long time.
Or join a big group such as a running club or the Hash House Harriers (new runners always welcome) where you will always be able to find someone to run with at a pace you are comfortable with. Running with other people gives you a huge motivation boost and helps you get out the door when you don't feel like running.
Run solo and escape with just your thoughts for company. On longer cross country runs you can go for miles without seeing another person. After a while you can "zone out" as the endorphins (natural painkillers) kick in and running can feel almost effortless for long periods of time. Its not unlike meditation, with the miles slipping by barely noticed.
Explore a New Area
Grab a map or a GPS and head out wherever you feel like. When travelling I always try and fit in a run in a new area, usually with a basic tourist map or a printout. I may get lost, but it doesn't matter and I can cover much more ground than walking. Its a great form of sightseeing and I'll often find areas worth walking back to in order to explore in more detail.
Running isn't for everybody, but for many of us, its our favourite way to build fitness, get outside, meet friends or relax alone. Find your sport and enjoy it. If you find running is for you, even better. Let's hear your reasons for running in the comments.
And I'll let you know about my knees. So far, so good!