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A great article that describes connections between running and mental health. It might sound kinda like mumbo jumbo to non-runners, but to me, it is very accurate.
Getting out the door almost every morning at 4:15 to run is tough, I won’t lie. But, I never, full stop, regret going out on a run. Even the days where the run doesn’t go well, or end up as planned, I always feel better than when I went out. Calmer, more relaxed, relieved.
A recent realization for me is that running is both physically and mentally addictive. If I don’t run, I’m all twitchy on the physical side and feel like I’m not centered mentally. Neither of those problems are super terrible, but easily avoidable simply by running. I’ve had real “runner’s high” a few times and I can tell you that it’s great, but finishing a 10 mile run when it’s 40° out and rain is coming at you sideways, is even better.
Even though I normally run with an mp3 player and some podcasts for distraction. I usually have something in the back of my brain to ponder. Sometimes it’s something work related or some challenge to work for/with the family. More times than not (at least as often as working something out during a shower), I can make measurable progress on the thoughts during the run, and better able to tackle the problem.
I’m pretty committed to running (though my wife thinks I should more likely be committed to a mental facility) since I run every day. Crossing off days on your calendar is super motivating; my current streak is 243 days. To help get me through the holidays, I also signed up the Runner’s World 40 Days of Awesome group, where the challenge is to run at least 1 mile per day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s day. The streak period hasn’t started yet, and I’m already jazzed reading about other people using the challenge to extend their streaks already in progress.
To the non-believers out there, all I can say is that you have to try and stick with it for a while to get the real results, both physically and mentally. But, for anything that’s really worth it, you always have to work at it.