What Motivates You To Be A Runner?

What are your motivating factors to being a runner?

Being a distance runner isn't the most glamorous thing to be. Cross Country isn't the most illustrious sport in the American society and there probably aren't a lot of your peers who really give a hoot that you run and represent the school.

I was watching The Espy's award show the other day and I saw them briefly acknowledge Katelyn Tuohy. It was short, brief, and it was almost like it didn't happen. Tuohy won the girls Gatorade National Track and field Athlete of the Year.

I know runners do not participate in the sport for the glory, if you are then I'm sorry to break the news to you, but "Most Likely, It Aint Happening!"

Even in our other sport of track and field, the distance events don't get the respect or acknowledgement we necessarily deserve. Sometimes spectators go to the concession stands during the distance events. Even our own teammates -- the sprinters often times down play our events.

Then, why did I do it? Why do you do it? 

Was it because I couldn't play basketball, football, or baseball well enough? Maybe, but that wasn't just it.

It isn't the easiest of sports to train for and to get really good it takes time and very hard work. Long runs, tempo runs, intervals, thresholds....you name it they don't necessarily produce the most pleasurable  feelings in the world. Even certain running terms make me cringe sometimes like lactic acid and short recovery. For years, I used to hate the phrase "back on the line."

But, I love running. You love running, but why? What motivates you to get up and do it every day?

I love it because I was fit. Even before I became as good as I was going to get, running was a way that I was able to become fit. I felt good because I felt good about the way I looked and felt. Not that I was the fittest person out there. It didn't matter if I was underweight or overweight had the best abs or not, it made me feel good about myself.

I was healthy and even doctors visits they asked me what I did how was able to be in as good of shape. I proudly told them I ran cross country. My heart rate was always lower than the normal teenager and cholesterol issues....well, they've never been an issue. 

Cross country and distance running is hard, but because it was, it honestly made me feel invincible. If there was a competition of endurance in school, life, or anything I knew I would win. Any physical challenge that caused for physical exertion or enduring fatigue I felt like I could win against anyone who wasn't a fellow runner. I was proud of the hard work and sacrifice I put in to train and perform that I felt superior in any physical activity that wasn't about physical strength. No matter what it was I knew I was prepared for it.

Distance running generated certain characteristics that my coaches told me I would learn and that I'd use later in life. They were right. It took discipline to get up every morning and sacrifice parts of my summer and other vacation times. I had to go to sleep early and wake up early. I didn't get to enjoy every Friday like all of the other kids because I had a meet on some Saturdays mornings. But, to be prepared for the meet I learned to sacrifice. I learned several other traits, values, and characteristics that I would use and would turn out to be valuable in all aspects of my life like hard work, team work, patience, a sense of urgency, to be on time, plan, how to execute a plan, ambition, reluctance of complacency, and more.

Not to knock on any other sport, but I am not sure I would have learned to apply the same things from other sports.
I was also motivated by the brotherhood/sisterhood of the sport. My teammates were some of my best friends. There is no doubt we were a special and quirky group, but we understood each other. We all sacrificed personal things to train the right way and it helped create a bond amongst us. The fellowship we had at the meets was always fun. We were runners, but we always had a football, soccer ball, hacky sack or something to do. We were somewhat responsible to some of my coach's gray hair because he never knew what we were going to do from week to week at the meet, but he knew we'd do something crazy.

For the most part, runners are good people. We have good hearts and intentions. I always felt positive vibes when around other runners. At meets, the majority of teams, coaches, and spectators are courteous and respectful. You're at a meet to compete and beat the other runners and teams, but there isn't malice or disrespect.

When I go to a running park or see other runners on the road, there is always a general respect. Sometimes we use each other for pacing. We do get our miles in and run off each other at times without saying a word. I can stretch and take off and it's like all my cares in the world are gone or I can mentally work them out while on the run.

Those are just some of the motivating factors I can think of for running. Vote in the poll below to share which are more motivational to you to get up and run every day. Feel free to add your own options to the poll.