feel better?

I’ve come to realise that whenever I come home from a run/jog, somewhere between the gate and the door, I tend to ask myself something like “feel better?” (I’m usually too exhausted by this time to formulate a complete sentence. And, yes, the answer is always “feel better”.)

This has led me to ponder about why I run. Actually, this is something that I tend to ponder about at some point during my run/jog – maybe in the early stages, while I’m still giving myself a bit of an internal pep talk, or maybe in the final stages, so that I can tick off the boxes.

I remember reading a feature article by Kathleen Noonan a while ago about why people run. I don’t really remember the main point of the article, but I vaguely remember her saying that we should run for the sake of running – because we enjoy it, and not because we need to de-stress or get in shape or stuff like that. At least, I think that was the overarching message… Again, I only have very vague recollections of the article. Nevertheless (there’s a word I used to use a lot in essays! I hardly get to use it anymore…) I think it was this article that started this habit of reflection while running.

I suppose the main reason I go running/jogging is because I enjoy it. I feel good when I run, and I feel good afterwards. I like that I just need to put my running shoes on, and I can run wherever I want to, for however long I can manage.

But there are plenty of other reasons, and I think they’re still valid reasons regardless of what anyone else says. Health and fitness is a big one. Believe it or not but, as a health professional, I am actually quite mindful of my own health and well-being. Kind of contradictory to that, I also like to eat a lot, so “guilt” is another reason why I run. Coincidentally, that was my primary reason for going for a run this afternoon. It works both ways though: sometimes I run because I’ve overeaten, and sometimes I run so that I can eat more later.

I also find running (or almost any exercise, really) to be, ironicly, quite energising. Of course, you’re probably thinking that this is just the post-run “high”, but I just find something quite exhilirating about being totally exhausted. The aforementioned “guilt” also applies to sloth-ful-ness (is that even a word? or close to a word?). I spent the whole morning and early afternoon lounging around, reading and watching YouTube, so I figured I owed it to myself to get outside.

Another reason, which I would assume is quite common, is de-stressing or “clearing one’s head”. Apart from reflecting on why I’m running, I actually don’t tend to think about a great deal while running. Sometimes I’ll have a song playing over and over again in my mind, and sometimes I’ll think about something that happened recently, but sometimes my mind is just blank. It feels quite meditative.

One final reason to run, which I have been advised of recently, is to cure a hangover. Just, umm.. you know, something to keep in mind in case you ever need it…