The Everyman: Why I Run

Jason Devaney gives his reasons for why he chooses to head outside and run.

Jason Devaney gives his reasons for why he chooses to head outside and run.

What’s the purpose of running? I mean, why do we lace up our running shoes and pound the pavement for 1, 3, 7, 15 or who-knows-how-many miles?

Is it to stay in shape? To push ourselves? To aid in weight loss or overcoming grief?

I once heard a joke about people who go to the gym, saying their reason for working out was to be able to fit into their stylish gym clothes.

Another joke, this one from the TV show Seinfeld, was:

To me, going to the health club, you see all these people and they’re working out, and they’re training and they’re getting in shape but the strange thing is nobody is really getting in shape for anything. The only reason that you’re getting in shape is that so you can get through the workout. So we’re working out, so that we’ll be in shape, for when we have to do our exercise. This is the whole thing.

The bottom line: We all have our reasons for running. Here are a few of mine, in no particular order:

To See What I Am Capable Of

I’ll never be an Olympian, marathon winner or the next Jim Ryun, but I know I can be better at running than I am now. We all can. The satisfaction we get from setting a PR or finishing a long run is a great thing.

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Races Are Fun

Some of us (including me to a certain degree) get bored on solo training runs. But racing is an entirely different thing. Feeling the butterflies at the start, hearing the starting gun go off and running with thousands of your new friends—and hearing nothing but breathing and the sound of shoes colliding with the road—are all part of the excitement on race day. If you like to race, then train to race.

It’s Good For The Soul (And Your Sanity)

A lot of us work too much. This means that our lives outside of work suffer, and often working out and running take a backseat. I was able to sneak out for a short run earlier this week—I’m talking 2.6 miles—and it was the highlight of my week thus far. It allowed me to step away from my desk and think. It also provided an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful late-spring weather.

The Health Benefits

For the sake of saving space, I won’t go into the long list of reasons why running is good for you physically. But running is a fantastic way to lose weight, maintain your healthy weight and get in better shape. It doesn’t matter if you’re running 6-minute miles or run/walking at a 15-minute pace. It’s all about getting out the door and bettering your life.

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It’s Free

Once you spend a few bucks to purchase the necessary shoes and gear, all you need to do is walk out your front door and put one foot in front of the other. No gym membership, lift ticket or entry fee is needed. Isn’t that enough of a reason?

Why do you run? Let me know on Twitter @jason_devaney1.