Running for stress relief is pretty obvious to many. I’m definitely not breaking new ground with this post. That being said, so many of us, myself included, forget that running releases stress. We can get so wrapped up in our distance and split pace that running starts to produce stress instead of reduce it. This shouldn’t be the case!
As a quick side note, I can’t tell you how many times I have thought or even heard others say, “Maybe I shouldn’t post this run because it was too slow… or not long enough…” Can we just get over this! I love being able to share my workouts and look at others’ training. It’s fun. However, it can quickly make my/your runs about other people. Your run is about you, your body, your time, and your distance. Don’t worry about what others might think. Just tell yourself right now, “I run for me.” The truth is that no one else cares! If they aren’t happy that you got out there and ran then the problem is with them and not you. Just let it go. You will be shocked how much more fun running is when you do it for yourself. Ok enough on that.
When I started running in high school I noticed that I wasn’t so anxious or sad after I ran. My parent’s house was across the street from a protected wetland with some trails and a giant paved walking and baking path. I can’t tell you how many times I would come home full of frustration after hanging out with friends; especially girls. I quickly learned that the best way to deal with my irrational and hormonal teen-self was to tie on my shoes and just run! I could tell that my mom understood. No mater how late it was she would just give me that, “Go run it off” look. Sure enough, no matter how I felt before my runs, I was almost always better afterwards.
If I thought high school drama was stressful, I was really in for it in college! During my senior year I started dating my future wife. Once I realized I wanted to marry her my heart went into cardiac arrest! Even though I loved her and wanted to marry her, the “commitment” factor was really freaking me out. I started to have crazy chest pains that latest most of our engagement! I thought I was dying. No seriously, I thought something was really wrong with me. I was so stressed out about graduating, finding a job, job offers falling through, and getting married that I felt like I was having a heart attack ever other day. The only way I found to control this stress was through prayer, climbing, and running. It was amazing how I could be extremely stressed then go for a short run and feel almost brand new! It was amazing! Now just in case you are wondering, I graduated, got a job, and married the most wonderful woman in the world! I also learned to handle stress a lot better. I am glad I had running during such a stressful time. It was the perfect system reboot for me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
So how does running release stress? A quick google search of Research Running As Stress Relief will give you all the info you could ever want on the topic. It basically has to do with chemicals called endorphins that make you feel great. But the truth is even though the scenes is cool and intriguing, all that matters is getting out there experiencing it yourself!
Running is great. It is Spiritual, Creative, and a Stress Reliever. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and run!