WHY RUNNING EVERY DAY IS GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL
By Brian Metzler
I ran a pretty basic 4 miles today.
And by basic, I mean simple and slow, uninspired and otherwise uneventful. Not something I would ever post about on social media.
But it was also entirely
meaningful and purposeful and I am very glad I laced ‘em up and went out the door. In fact, it’s probably the most important I’ll do all day.
Now that’s it’s been several hours, I can feel the positive reverberations of that
slow, seemingly “blah” run pulsing through my body. My legs feel pleasantly fatigued though still warm and loose. But more importantly, I can feel the positive vibes in my brain, and my heart is alive. I am present in the moment and I
Although I have been running for a long time, I have never been a runner who tracks mileage, analyzes workout data or even pays attention to how many consecutive days I have run. There is purpose to my running, but
I typically don’t think too much about it after I’m done. And I’ve definitely never been a streaker — someone who runs every day for the sake of running every single day.
(Yes, I have had many friends who have done this often
and I have always been impressed. And I am amazed by runners like Jon Sutherland and James Patterson, who have both run every single day for more than 50 years! Heck, I’ve
been amazed and impressed by friends who have run every day for a single year.)
And so I have to confess that today’s run marked 21 consecutive days of running for me. What?! I know, it’s no big deal, except that it’s
likely my longest streak in years. Or at least the longest one I’ve paid attention to. I didn’t intend to start a streak three weeks ago, I just kind of fell into it as a way to get in shape. But it’s definitely become a thing for me because
I don’t want to end it.
But that’s largely because it’s given me daily purpose filled with positivity. Because it coincided with the coronavirus pandemic becoming more of an issue in the U.S. and, specifically my hometown of
Boulder, Colorado. They city and state went under a shelter-at-home order recently as part of the national efforts to “flatten the curve” and reduce the spread of the highly contagious virus. Fortunately it allows for limited outdoor recreation
as long as social distancing protocols are followed.
It’s a tough time for all of us — some much tougher than others — but running every day is the key to keeping my sanity.
“No one is going to ‘happy’ their way
out of this, and that’s OK,” says Boulder-based running coach David Roche, and co-author of “The Happy Runner: Love the Process, Get Faster, Run Longer.” “We can hopefully find the daily beauty in every little thing we have to do and that
we like to do, and that includes running. If we’re forced to run inside or run around back and forth in a small area near our home, there’s so much gratitude to be found in those processes. Just the act of doing it can be rich.”
Truth be told, I am not in shape yet and probably a long way from it, but my daily experiences have been rich and I appreciate the physical, mental and emotional boost each one has provided me. It’s help me avoid getting too dark about
the current state of the world, the economy and horrific scenarios that’s happening in some of the country’s coronavirus hot spots.
It’s given me balance, allowed me to work better (including writing about the importance of
running during challenging times) and allowed me to generally be more calm and pleasant around family, friends, co-workers and everyone else I encounter (from 6 feet away) during this stressful time.
And, lately, it’s inspired
me to look forward to my next run. And that’s a good thing.
Now that I have acknowledged that my 21-day streak is actually a streak, I realize that it’s so much more than that and that it’s so much greater than the sum of its
parts. It’s become something I rely on for so many things. It’s a daily affirmation of so many things that are meaningful to me.
I just want to keep on running. Every day. Why? Because I have learned to trust the process and
found that, ultimately, there is great inspiration in the process. And that reminds me that running is about the journey, not the destination.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BRIAN METZLER
Brian Metzler is the author of “Kicksology: The Hype, Science, Culture and Cool of Running Shoes” (2019, VeloPress). He has run races at every distance
from 50 meters to 100 miles, wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher and occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.
He's the founding editor
of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine. He's the author of “Running Colorado's Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running:
The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian's Approach for Every Runner.”
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