The 10 Best Things About Outdoor Running

This week I am skipping my usual Monday Mantra post to commemorate something very near and dear to me: outdoor running.

Yesterday, for the first time in months (thanks, Old Man Winter!), I laced up my shoes and hit the pavement of a local park. I understand that any sort of exercise gives you an endorphin-fueled boost but there is something special about feelin’ the burn in the great outdoors that whoops any treadmill workout’s fanny. This post is where I am going to try to put that “something special” into words.

To my fellow outdoor running enthusiasts, I hope this serves as a place for you to reflect on the activity you love so much. To the runners that haven’t tried outdoor running, maybe because you only have experienced running on a “dreadmill,” I hope this sparks some curiosity in you about running outside. Give it a shot if you want and if it still ain’t your thang, it ain’t no thang but a chicken wang.
Disclaimer: Run not guaranteed to be as scenic as image depicted above. But you never know… maybe you’ll jog through a mysterious armoire and end up in Narnia, too.
  1.  Sunshine! Honestly, who could complain about getting some good, old-fashioned sunlight? It’s good for your vitamin D levels and great for your soul. I’m no doctor, but I’m fairly certain soaking up some rays is 1000 times more refreshing than running on a stationary machine under florescent lights.

  2.  … or Not. Life ain’t all rainbows and butterflies, and outdoor runs ain’t all … sunshine and butterflies. But I bet I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t think running in the rain is rejuvenating, or that running through snowflakes is magical.

  3.  The People. I’ve “met” (aka awkwardly smiled at) some awesome people during my outdoor runs. You never know what you’re gonna get out there and most of the time that’s a good thing. My favorite people so far: the jolly woman who gave me the thumbs-up sign and the four little kids who gave me consecutive high-fives during my half-marathon.

  4.  The Non-People. Let’s be real, sometimes you run to get away from people. If you’re feeling antisocial, don’t worry … you’re sure to make some animal friends out there, too! I’ve ran alongside deer (scary but crazy cool), made some serious eye contact with a hawk on a fence post, jumped like hell over an unexpected snake, and seen many cute cats and dogs.

  5.  The Air. You know that feeling when you open the windows in your home or drive with the windows down for the first time after a long winter? Running outside gives you that same feeling … every single time. ‘Nuff said.

  6.  The Mind Cleansing. I’ve got more issues than TIME Magazine. OK, not quite, but I do tend to get anxious and down in the dumps about the stupidest crap. Running (particularly outdoors) releases that from my brain. It’s kind of like a hard reset for your computer, except I don’t have a power button that I need to hold down for five seconds. The faster my heart beats and the stronger my lungs breathe seems to correlate with how fast I can rid my mind of BS.

  7.  The Soul Searching. This is related to #6, but it’s a little different in the sense that Soul Searching runs don’t necessarily come as a byproduct of feeling crappy. Sometimes you’re in a really good mood and you focus on the sunshine in your soul the entire time you’re running. These runs are just as good (if not better) than the Mind Cleansing runs, and many times they occur in tandem during the same workout.

  8.  The Smells. Run past a barbecue during the summer. You’ll thank me later.

  9.  The Breeze. Less sweat, more evaporation. Dri-tec can suck it (unless it’s humid, then I take it all back).

  10.   The Unexpected. The best part of running outside is not knowing what you’re going to get. Will you awkwardly high-five your next BFF? Will you run alongside wild animals like a scene straight from Bambi? Or will you simply look at the trees around you, take a whiff of the Smith’s steaks grilling away next door and be grateful for this beautiful, perfect, unpredictable moment?

Do you run outdoors? If so, what’s your favorite thing about it? If you prefer running inside, let me know why you love that, too!



2 thoughts on “The 10 Best Things About Outdoor Running

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s