Brotherhood of Runners - To Join or Not To Join?
It is commonly believed that running is an activity for loners. However, all runners are united in an informal sports brotherhood. They have their rituals, their attire, their slang, and their gathering places. They keep track of each other's progress and depend on running like a drug, regularly increasing their "dose." Below are 10 reasons to join the running brotherhood and change your life for the better.
Solitude among Many
Where can one runner meet another? The answer is on a secret morning run. Why "secret"? Because when it happens, regular people are still asleep. With the first rays of the sun, runners gather in parks and squares of major cities. Warming up on freshly swept alleys, they exchange streams of hot air and silent glances. This is the brotherhood of a healthy lifestyle. Here, any newcomer who decides to give up all harmful habits for one beneficial habit is understood without words. Unnecessary conversations only disrupt the rhythm of breathing. That's why running is an excellent option for all introverts who want to attend daily meetings of like-minded individuals without engaging in conversation.
However, recently many companies have actively used running as team-building exercises. If you're a boss who doesn't like the fact that the main informal gathering place for employees is the smoking area, organize a running workout for the entire team. It's preferable to do it outdoors with a professional trainer who can provide advice on equipment, demonstrate proper technique, and inspire with motivational energy. Such team-building activities kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, it saves the budget because running is much cheaper than bowling, karaoke, or paintball. Secondly, it improves health, which positively impacts the KPIs of your employees.
Spirit of Competition
Often people shy away from running because they find it boring. After all, running is a routine, monotonous, repetitive activity. But runners have their life hacks to avoid what renowned writer and runner Haruki Murakami calls "runner's blues." If you install a running app on your phone, such as Runtastic, you can not only track your training statistics but also share your achievements with other runners. This creates a spirit of competition that motivates you to go for a run even when it's raining outside and staying at home, wrapped in a blanket while watching series seems much more appealing.
Running as Art
Runners with a creative streak use smartphone apps, enable tracking, and draw artistic figures and routes on city maps during their runs. The most famous of these art runners is Lenny Maughan from the United States. His "running portfolio" includes portraits of Frida Kahlo, the silhouette of Batman, the image of the USS Enterprise, and many other pictures. After Russia's unlawful invasion of Ukraine, Maughan drew a massive sunflower (one of the symbols of the Ukrainian people) on the map of his hometown, San Francisco, by running 145 kilometers through the city's hills. It took him 20 hours to create the "running Picasso."
Every runner is on the chase for a special kind of thrill, known as the "runner's high." It is a rare and hard-to-achieve feeling. But it is undoubtedly worth the thousands of liters of sweat and dozens of worn-out sneakers sacrificed to attain it.
The sensation occurs when you keep running and running, thinking maybe you don't need to run anymore, and suddenly, bam! Your consciousness is overwhelmed by a sudden feeling of lightness, happiness, and exhilaration. Dedicated runners describe this experience as an unprecedented clarity of mind, sometimes even a sense of detachment from the body. Yes, it is a hard-to-reach state, but it is definitely worth the thousands of liters of sweat and dozens of worn-out sneakers sacrificed for it.
Support in Life
Any fraternity implies that by joining its ranks, you will feel additional support in life. In the case of running, it primarily provides support for your health. Scientists from the University of Iowa studied 55,000 people aged 18 to 100 for 15 years and found that each hour of running extends life by 7 hours. Moreover, to reduce the risk of premature death by 25-40%, it is not necessary to run a lot - just 10-minute workouts are enough.
The routine of running is spiced up by running events. Every year, thousands of city marathons take place around the world. The most prestigious ones include the Boston, New York, Chicago, London, Tokyo, and Berlin marathons. These events bring together professional athletes and amateur enthusiasts who compete for top places and hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money. For example, this year's Boston Marathon had 30,000 participants and nearly half a million spectators. People were most eager to witness the new achievements of the marathon superstar and current world record holder (2:01:09) - Eliud Kipchoge. However, the Kenyan unexpectedly finished in 6th place. Nevertheless, this sensation sparked a global discussion, which means that the number of running enthusiasts joining in the footsteps of the Boston Marathon increased.
Running enthusiasts love it for its accessibility. Among all the financial investments, the most expensive aspect of this sport is having good cushioning running shoes. Apart from that, you can run anywhere and anytime. As long as the temperature isn't scorching hot at +35 degrees, freezing cold at -35 degrees, or accompanied by rain and hurricane-like winds. This provides numerous advantages. For example, during the pandemic, while regular gym-goers were learning to exercise at home using water bottles and stools, runners continued to enjoy their favorite outdoor jogs.
At first glance, running might seem simple - you stand up, stretch a bit, and start running... However, running has many technical and psychological nuances that experienced athletes willingly share. Books about running constantly become bestsellers. When reading memoirs and guides by marathon runners, people who have never run before fall under their spell - they clean their old running shoes, set their alarm clocks for 5 am, and go to bed early. They are determined to start their first run the next day and forever change their lives for the better. Here are some popular books about running:
"What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" by Haruki Murakami - The famous Japanese writer explains how running helps him create long novels.
"Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall - The book analyzes the phenomenal running abilities of the Tarahumara tribe and questions the safety of professional running shoes.
"Daniels' Running Formula" by Jack Daniels - No, it's not a guide for running while drunk, written by a whiskey bottle. It's a well-known manual by an authoritative American coach.
"Eat and Run" by Scott Jurek - An ultramarathon runner shares how veganism helps him run ultra-long distances. Each chapter of the book concludes with a delicious recipe.
"Why We Run" by Ronald Reng - An engaging story about how running helps one find inner freedom.
It's Never Too Late
Looking at long-time runners, one may feel discouraged, thinking that starting to run is only for the young, before knees start complaining about the weather and breath starts to falter while climbing stairs. Well, indeed, health problems can be a reason to refrain from running. It's important to consult a doctor. If the doctor says running is not advisable, then it's not. But if they say it's possible, it means you should seek opportunities rather than excuses. Just like Julia Hawkins from Louisiana did. At the age of 105, this grandmother, nicknamed "Hurricane," set a record for sprinting in her age category, completing 100 meters in 1 minute and 2.95 seconds. And the most interesting part is that Hawkins started running not at 20, 30, or even 40, but at the age of 100! What excuses could there be after that?