It is fairly common to pick up running as a hobby. Lose weight, decrease stress, and achieve a goal are all reasons that come to mind. But what is it that keeps people running?

Why do some people start running 20-30 minutes three days a week, and then find themselves running 25, 35, 45 miles a week, week after week, year after year? What motivates some to go from running one marathon to becoming a true marathon runner?

I asked a friend about his personal motivation. As he answered, he started realizing that he has run for so long (20 years or something) he doesn’t need a reason. At some point, being an athlete just became who he was. Without it, he would feel incomplete.

I understand that. But it raises the question, how did I get to this point? I wasn’t born running. In fact, I was a dancer for 15 years, never giving running a thought. And then one day (see “A cute boy”) that changed. The point is not that I started to run, but that I stuck with it. Here is what I think motivates me day after day, week after week, year after year.

Like 99.999% of athletes, I want to be fit, healthy, strong and dare I say it…thin. And as odd as this might sound, I really like to move. I liked the movement that was inherent in ballet and I like it in running too.

Second, I like the world I see, hear, smell and feel as a runner. From the hills by my house to the streets of a new city — like Warsaw, New York, Dubai, San Diego, and Prague — I experience life differently because I run.

I am proud that my kids see me as an athlete. They are young (seven, seven and eight) and I have run for as long as they can remember. They have picked it up too — just a little — and they understand the joy.

Fourth, running brings me peace.

I am also very motivated by the accomplishments of others. I watch and think, “If they can do that, I can do it too.” I am not always right, but it is pure motivation.

Oh, and I really like cookies.

And probably most motivating, it brings me joy. The friend I mentioned earlier works out two, three, four hours a day, six days a week (he is a triathlete). I once asked him, “Why?!!! (Psycho!)” His response was simple, “I just really like it.” What other motivation do you need?


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