A friend from high school recently asked me via email why I run vs. other types of cardio workouts. Neither Ellen nor I were "runners" in high school, we were active but didn't run for the sake of running. But in our adult lives, we've both taken up the sport; she's a more recent convert than me, and is still wondering whether it's all worth it.
I think she was asking from the perspective of actual physiological benefits. Unfortunately, I don't have much information on that front. But it did get me started thinking about why I, personally, choose to run.
One big factor is the ease. You lace up a pair of shoes, walk out the door, and go. And actually, being able to walk out the door and have nice running routes right there was a factor when we were looking at houses and neighborhoods.
Another factor is the versatility. Running is as hard or as easy as you make it .... okay, it's never really easier. But you can choose to walk if you're having a rough day, or you can pick up the pace and add in some hills if you have energy to burn.
I also appreciate that it gives me time away from everything else. If I were to do a workout video in the basement, I would still hear the phone ring or the baby crying. I just want to go.
And finally, I like that it is a sport that lends itself to goals. Big ones (like a half-marathon) and small ones (make it to the next light post without walking). I am constantly setting running goals. Sometimes I make them, sometimes not. But either way I know that running will always be challenging for me. I will always feel better after having gone for a run, whether it was a good run or not. And, after many years of not accepting it, I'm proud to call myself a "runner."