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?

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