Why Run Half-Marathons?

Anyone who knows me well knows that I REALLY don’t like running.  I’ve never understood it.  When I run, I don’t “feel his pleasure” (For you Chariots of Fire fans).  I feel pain, and lots of it.

This all being said before my second half-marathon I’ll be running this weekend.  So although I don’t enjoy running, I do it.  Here are my top reasons:

1.  It teaches you the value of goal-setting. I set goals.  For various areas of my life, my work, my family, I have goals.  Each quarter of the year, I like to have some big physical goal, because without it, I’d have no reason to exercise.  I run to help meet my goal.  Once I do, it is a great sense of accomplishment.  Meeting this goal has a direct impact on other areas of my life.

2.  It forces you to exercise.  If you are the type that enjoys going to the gym, sweating to the oldies, then we don’t have much in common.  I don’t go.  I don’t “workout”.  I don’t run, swim, bike or do yoga for fun.  None of it.  But, if I sign up to do a half-marathon, then I’m forced to exercise, or I’ll die on race day.  That’s what motivates me, is the reality that the date is drawing near, and I don’t want to die.  This is good discipline for me.

3. It isn’t just about running.  As I clearly stated earlier, I don’t enjoy running.  Because of this, my training schedule looks different than other people training for the same event.  Most weeks, I only run twice per week.  Training gets me active in multiple areas.  Here’s what I do:

Sunday – Swim 1,500 meters.

Monday – Run 3-5 miles.

Tuesday – Swim 2,000 meters.

Wednesday – Cross train.  This might be running, flag-football, or swimming.

Thursday – Swim 2,000 meters.

Friday – Long run.  Depending on where I am in my training, it will be somewhere between 5 – 11 miles.

Saturday – Rest.

4.  It forces you to eat right. It wasn’t until I started running long distances that I really noticed how bad I felt if I hadn’t eaten well.  It was a new discovery for me.  Up until that point, I knew a cheeseburger wasn’t good for me.  When you are in about mile 9, you understand that at a deeper level.

5.  Its a great time alone. I’ve never been one to run with someone.  I love to go out on the loop around our city, park on a side road, and then run on the shoulder (It has a 6-8 ft shoulder).  Sometimes I pray, but most of the time I listen to great podcasts, sermons, or other types of talks online.  With a full house at home, this is a good opportunity to enjoy some “down time”.

6.  It teaches you that pain is not all bad. Pain is part of life.  After running, I am reminded that pain is temporary.  The runs where I’ve hurt the most, have often felt the best afterward.  I’ve thought about this when I have tough days with my family or at work.

7.  It gives you a great sense of accomplishment when you’re done. I loved finishing my last race.  I also loved cheering for the 35 or so people from our organization who ran the race with me.  It was that I realization that I met my goal, and lived to tell about it.

Those are a few reasons I do these races.  How about you?  Do you have similar goals?  What are your reasons?


  1. Emily October 8, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    I think for me, I like conveneint and easy. I like comfortable. A half-marathon is none of those things. Training stretches me to run when I don’t want to, to meet up with friends that are counting on me running with them, to push myself past that “I want to stop and cry” feeling and do what I committed to do. It makes my decisions purposeful instead of all about my feelings.

  2. Jenn October 8, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    This is great Kevin. I started my running journey my freshman year of college. What started as a mere goal turned into a passion.

    I love the discipline, training my body, and practicing self control. It’s also been a connection point for friendships & a fun hobby!

  3. Shanda October 12, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    I don’t really love running either. That’s crazy since I completed 4 half marathons in the past year. But I love how I feel when it’s over. I love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I finish strong. There’s just something about finishing something that seems unlikely and a little crazy to those around you. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love those medals! :)

    • Kevin East October 12, 2010 at 5:36 pm #

      Yeah, my body still feels like it got hit by a bus from this last weekend’s race. But, because my next goal is to run one on December 5th, I’ll have to get back to exercising tomorrow to meet that goal. Without that goal, I wouldn’t do it.

  4. Jeff Gouldie October 12, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    If I can add one more reason for running.

    Discipleship opportunity.

    A friend who I had the privileged of leading while at PC had talked with me about running in a Marathon for about 6 months. When Casey signed up for the Fort Worth Marathon before telling me it became an opportunity for us to train in two different locations and then tackle a challenge together.

    I wish I could forget my horrible time but the experience of rounding the corner and running through downtown Fort Worth with my friend and brother to finish the race is a priceless moment.

  5. kirstie davis October 22, 2010 at 12:22 am #

    Hey Opee,
    this is very encouraging! working at pine cove this summer really got me exercising again.. the jumping on opening day, running to the cars (in 100 degree weather) and just constant activity throughout the week… not at all comfortable like you said but it was wonderful in the end & i felt satisfied with myself.
    with all that, since being back home (college, dorm food, fast food) life seemed to take a harsh stop as far as exercising and running… lately I started getting back into the gym and now I’m really wanting to sign up for a marathon or 5k or anything just to get a goal started. so thanks for this blog, its so encouraging to hear and very motivating!

    • Kevin East October 27, 2010 at 7:43 am #

      Way to go! I look forward to hearing about the first marathon you do.