Anyone who has ever been a runner knows that the sport can teach you so much about your body, your life, and your personality. Between never- ending workouts, countless injuries, and loads of anxiety, running seemed like something no one in their right mind would want to do. However, there is a real unspoken peace and power to running.

I genuinely believe in "runner's high." If I don't run every day, I feel significantly more sluggish and lazy, and like I am carrying less confidence. There is something about conquering the big hill down the street, hitting a pace you've never hit before, or completing 7 straight miles that makes you feel unstoppable.

Body

coffee, champagne, alcohol, beer, gastronomy, wine
Allison Curley

One of the coolest aspect of running is that you only need a pair of sneakers and yourself to get started. That's it. Running is your mind and body working together and propelling itself across the earth. It might sound totally nuts, but it's remarkable that anyone, anywhere can run, just like that. It is because of this that running has connected me so much more with my body.

If you feel at all out of touch with yourself, one of the best things that you can do to feel reconnected is to exercise. Pushing yourself through a tough run that unites your body and mind to the point of complete assurance can do wonders for self esteem and confidence. No one else or anything else in the world can make you keep going except for yourself.

fish, water
Allison Curley

Sometimes your body actually goes so far as to surprise you with it's capabilities. Half the time that people choose to stop running or to turn around in the middle of a run is not physical exhaustion, but rather a mental block. The human body can handle so much more than we give it credit for, which is an empowering realization that I have learned through running. 

My awareness of my body has become so keen that I know at exactly what point in a 5 mile run I will begin to feel tired and exactly how much strain my body can take each day. I am confident in my body and have learned to see new potential in its abilities. I don't know how I could be so sure of both myself and my body if I was not a runner. 

Life

cake, beer
Emily Chin

Running teaches you perseverance, one of life's most important skills. Whenever I had a personal conflict or a rough day, a long run was my way of working through it. I would start the run angry or frustrated. But slowly, with every step I took, I would come to a solution and "mount the hill," so to speak.

One of the best ways that running can help you step away from the stresses of life is to remove yourself from the real world. If you put your headphones in, go for a run in the woods, and push yourself to focus solely on your run, somehow all of those thoughts and real world problems begin to melt away. All it takes is setting up your run and focusing this type of mental state, where all you surround yourself with is nature.

beer
Allison Curley

It's like giving yourself alone time, but the actual act of running helps you feel like you have accomplished something in the mean time. Between the fresh air, connection between body and mind, and the zone that you put yourself in during a run, I always feel completely cleansed of daily struggles and awaken a sense of positivity within myself.

Each run is a new achievement, which gets me ready every morning to take on a new day and new conflicts. I often go for a run before making a big life decision, or if I am freaking out about something that has happened. It's a stress reliever that requires dedication and a lot of inner pep talks, but leaves you feeling better and more at peace every time. This feeling, this ability to take time every day to work things out in my head, and this sense of overcoming and perseverance is why I love to run.

Self

turkey, water
Emily Chin

Running teaches you more than you ever thought possible about your personality. Whether you are short-tempered, anxious, or driven, running will bring these traits out in you. I personally discovered how beneficial running can be for your attitude, especially because it is such a goal oriented sport.

There isn't a lot of winning and losing in running. It's mostly just working towards a milestone, or completing a goal. I can't think of a healthier sport. You are only in competition with yourself and your times, which can be really refreshing. If you have a bad run one day, no one else is there to see it, and you will always be able to get back to improving how you feel and how you perform. 

tea, beer
Emily Chin

Running is all about a feeling. How you feel when you wake up in the morning, how you feel on mile nine, and how you feel when you finish. It's one of the most therapeutic, connecting, and thoughtful sports out there. Instead of thinking about the pain that comes with the sport, it is important to make yourself focus on parts of the run that do feel good, which can bring out your inner peace and  even th elusive runner's high.

It changed my life, and helped me find myself and a community that shared a lot of my values. Anyone can run, and I hope this inspires you to give yourself the experience. It can improve your health, your happiness, and your sense of self.