Why I’m Thankful For Running 

Thankful for running

It’s Thanksgiving, a time to give thanks for the people in your life.

I thought I’d take the opportunity to also be thankful for running – after all, it’s one of the things I spend the most time doing.

The least I can do is take a few moments to consider why.

Thankful for running

The ‘I Could Never… I Just Did’

Running has provided me with a near-constant cycle of thinking “I could never do that” followed almost immediately by “Wow, I just did that.”

It happens on training runs, when I’m tired and just not feeling it. Or on a trail run when I’m trudging up a seemingly endless hill. It happens at some point during every marathon when I think I don’t have anything more I can give, and at some point during marathon training when the time and energy required of me seems like too much.

Every time I think I can’t do something, every time I think about giving up, I prove myself wrong and I do what I set out to do.

That self-confidence can’t help but inform other areas of my life. I know any version of the phrase ‘I could never…’ doesn’t really mean much.

And for that, I am thankful

The Vistas I’ve Seen

Running requires movement, movement that gets me out into the world, into neighborhoods I would have never otherwise seen, and parks I wouldn’t have otherwise known existed.

An even more amazing world opened up when I began trail running several years ago. I live in the Bay Area, where there is beauty in every direction. The ocean, the mountains, the redwoods.

So many vistas that I’ve seen with my own two eyes due to my own two feet, because of running.

And for that, I am thankful.

The Calorie Burn

I’m the first to admit my diet isn’t the best. I like cupcakes, what can I say?

Good thing that running burns many, many calories.

While the calories burnt isn’t the reason I started running, and it isn’t the reason I continue running, it is a really great side effect.

It seems especially appropriate on Thanksgiving to be grateful that I’ve come to enjoy an activity that will also allow me to eat Thanksgiving meals and the occasional pizza feast (relatively) guilt-free.

And for that, I am thankful.

Random Brain Connections

I have come to appreciate the monotony of running as an opportunity to let my mind wander.

This process (after a few years of practice) allows me to make connections, and have ideas on the run, that I would never have otherwise had.

In the same way that you usually have your best ideas in the shower, I have my great ideas on the run.

Break-though ideas for work, that exact right turn of phrase for a speech at a friend’s wedding, and now, great (if I do say so myself) ideas for blog posts. All made possible due to letting my mind wander on runs.

And for that, I am thankful.

The Look On Other’s Faces

There are little things in life that can bring you an outsized sense of joy.

For me, that tiny little joy is being able to throw into casual conversation how many miles I ran over the weekend, or how many marathons I’ve run.

Often I get the sense that a new acquaintance thinks they have me pegged, they think they know who I am or what I do for fun. Then I throw into the conversation that I ran 20 miles over the weekend preparing for my 27th marathon.

They never see it coming.

It’s usually a tiny, inconsequential part of any conversation, but the looks are priceless, and it brings me great joy.

And for that, I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Sara is a runner, running coach, writer, blogger, and a lover of all things written.

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