Running Perks

On average, I’ve been running 3-6 times a week since the age of 15. Irrespective of some short periods of time off, that equates to a fair few miles considering I’m not a pro of any sort. Over the years I have entered fun runs, competed in cross country races and trained with Loughborough University’s Cross Country team. Despite this, running competitively has never been the key drive for me. I class anything under an 8 minute mile as a good run, but if I take longer, I’m cool with that.

So why do I run? What’s in it for me? And why have I kept it up for 7 years without quitting? My reasons below explain exactly why.

1. You switch off

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetI know a lot of people who find this concept absolutely bizarre. Trying to comprehend the fact that you can psychologically remove yourself from all that life throws at you, whilst trying to catch your breath and forcing yourself not to quit seems ridiculous I know. But, trust me, given time and practice, this is one of the most attractive perks of running for many people. By throwing on your trainers and heading outside, you will find that you can really tune out and naturally bring your attention to the present moment. Of course you can’t expect to find this headspace immediately, but with persistence this state will come. In times of stress or after a long day in the office, working the body calms the mind, and to date, I have found no better way to achieve this other than to simply run.

2. You pay nothing

Money is not an excuse when it comes to running. You can be anyone, anywhere, job or no job, all you need is a pair of decent trainers and you’re sorted. It seems so obvious I know, but I don’t believe there is enough credit given to the fact that running is, and always will be entirely free of charge (apologies for the pun). As a universal sport, hobby and interest, running unites all kinds of people for this very reason. So, if you’re struggling for cash, unsure whether to join the expensive gym down the road, or simply trying to save money, don’t forget that running is always accessible regardless of your circumstances.

3. You get fit

Seven years ago, I began running twice a week for a local women’s club. At the time, I was certainly an active young person, gyming and playing sport each week, however I distinctly remember (despite being by far the youngest runner in the club) struggling to maintain the pace of the other women, even in the short distance slow group. This bothered me, particularly as I couldn’t understand why on earth they were faster than I was, had more stamina, could gossip away throughout their runs – I could go on forever (said my younger self). A month or so in, something clicked. I suddenly had to beat my previous time and I had to feel my heart beat that little bit quicker than my previous run. Soon enough, my life long asthma became unrecognisable and any exercise that wasn’t running felt like a walk in the park. This is when I  started to mix up my pace, distances and terrain, which resulted in further improvement and personal satisfaction. If we’re talking cardio fitness, the more regularly you get up and go, the more running works wonders for your fitness and can result in other positive health benefits. So regardless of your age, stage, shape and size, it is only you who takes the credit in knowing that you’ve earned your fitness through running.

4. You get out

imageEveryone loves exploring new places, right? In my opinion, combining all of the above with the additional perks of ‘the great outdoors’, really does make running unbeatable. Whether you’re on your travels, have taken a wrong turn in town, or simply fancy some fresh air – running outdoors is an adventure in itself. Many a time I’ve discovered a view I have never encountered before, found a hidden gem in a place I am familiar with, or ventured off to somewhere I didn’t know existed. This in itself gives running another dimension. Rain, sun or snow, the freedom of being outdoors with no purpose other than to run, often results in a greater appreciation of the world we live in. You will discover specific places you love to run, locations with various atmospheres that can complement your mood and new routes that you may decide to take regularly. Running outside on a day when you have no plans to leave the house can often result in a shift in mood, which as a result, can brighten the perception of your whole day.

5. You make friends


It is quite obscure that an individual sport such as running can be as sociable as it is. There are uncountable groups, clubs, societies, teams ect all over the world that each similarly value the social spark that comes with running. Yes, fundamentally you’re in it for yourself, (whether it’s to train, lose weight, or improve your speed ect) but actually so is everyone else, and that’s exactly why running brings people together. I have met some truly wonderful people over the years this way. Having been a student at Loughborough University, I am proud to say that I shared my passion for running with many others, being part of the cross country team. It was here that I met one of my now closest friends. We motivated each other through the not so easy training sessions, gossiped our way through endless miles and supported each other at races. From park runs to fun runs, from morning miles to easy jogs, finding friends through running is an inevitable process. No matter where you are or who you are, there will always be others who share the same enthusiasm and are keen to join you for a run!

6. You feel good

My final and favourite perk. As cliche as it sounds, there is not one single run I regret going on. Each and every time I run I still feel the high around 20 minutes in. It’s physical and psychological benefits are enormous. Regardless of whether I’ve done 25 or 45 minutes, forced myself to put my trainers on or ran to meet a friend for a run, for me, the sense of achievement I get post-run is incomparable to anything else. I’ve discovered more about myself and my capabilities through running than by any other means and this is why I’m sharing this with you now. The ‘feel good factor’ associated with running (in whatever form that might be) is too good not to talk about and in my opinion is formed from a combination of all of the perks above.

On that note, I hope that this has inspired you to throw on your trainers and regardless of experience, put one foot in front of the other and take it all in.

And that’s exactly why I run.

Meg X

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  • Sandra
    22nd September 2016 at 10:47 pm

    Love it. Feeling the passion.
    Could have written that myself, but not quite so eloquently.
    Hope it inspires people to get out there and run.

    • Avatar photo
      20th October 2017 at 3:16 pm

      Thank you Sandra!

  • Conor
    15th March 2020 at 9:32 pm

    This is so great Meg! Absolutely loved reading this. Will have to get out for a parkrun next time we are close by 🙂

    • Avatar photo
      16th March 2020 at 10:48 pm

      Aw thanks Conor! So nice to hear from you☺️ Hope you’re doing well – definitely, would love to catch up if you’re around London at some point, let me know x