Runners rejoice! Today is National Running Day, a day to celebrate the sweaty sports bra, killer playlist, die-hard hair elastic, shaded pathway, and everything else behind those runs we love so much.
We've delved into the science of barefoot running, taken a look at the top running mistakes, and worked hard to figure out which natural deodorants hold up, but today we step back to remember why we do it all in the first place.
We've asked top runners what keeps them returning to the pavement or trail day after day. What's your reason?
I run to feel alive.
"When I'm running, it's a time when I feel most free, most alive, and the best version of myself."
I run to understand myself better.
"My favorite thing about running (especially racing) is how it teaches you things about yourself. Some days you find out you are stronger than you thought, other days you discover exactly what things make you want to give up, but in the end you always feel like you earned a small victory by doing it!"
—Molly Huddle, professional distance runner specializing in the 5,000-meter race.
I run to connect with nature.
"Running is the one place where I can both retreat into myself and connect with the environment that surrounds me. It’s the place where I solve my problems. It's the place that fuels my creativity. It’s the place where everything beyond the sound of my breath falls away, providing the space for my truest self to emerge."
—Rich Roll, two-time top finisher at the Ultraman World Championships.
I run because it makes me feel strong.
"My favorite thing about running is how strong it makes me feel. I love all types of cardio (certified cardio bunny over here!), but there is something about getting in the groove on a run that makes me feel like I can take on the world. Plus, I love the efficiency of running as a full-body workout. Lastly, I love that running is such a fun group activity to do with others. I am a chatty runner for sure.
—Jordan Younger, runner, yogi, and author of Breaking Vegan.
I run to find solutions.
"Aside from the immediacy of a runner's high, if I'm facing a dilemma of any sort, I can run to the mountains or alongside the ocean and work it out. Running equals solutions in the same way that a shower might for some folks!"
—Andia Winslow, professional athlete, sports and conditioning coach.
I run to create mental space.
“My favorite thing about running is the mental space it creates. I have to just focus on the music, my breathing, and pushing through each step.“
—Chinae Alexander, runner, wellness expert, and founder of chinaealexander.com.
I run because it makes me feel free.
"I love running on trails. I love the sound of the dirt crunching. I love the wind moving through my body as I move through the landscape. I love how I feel like I'm totally free in that moment and I seem to forget all my worries."
—Brock Cannon, vegan ultra-endurance athlete and author of The Switchback Approach.
Want more running advice? Find out how much fat runners should eat, and learn how to start running again when all you've been doing is yoga.