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About Everything Wiki » Fitness » Why do we like to run?

Why do we like to run?

03 May 2023, 15:54, parser
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«Dad, where are you going?»— my little son asked me recently when I was lacing up my running shoes on a cold and wet Sunday morning. «Run.» — I replied. «Why?» — he asked me.

Adharanand Finn, assistant Production editor «Guardian» and writer, wrote a special article for «The running blog » in which he confesses his love for running and tries to convey all the emotions of runners. And he does it, admittedly, perfectly well!

«Dad, where are you going?»— my little son asked me recently when I was lacing up my running shoes on a cold and wet Sunday morning. «Run.» — I replied. «Why?» — he asked me.

He's only three years old. But it was a really good question that I could answer so simply. My body has not yet recovered from the shock of being dragged out of a cozy bed. I was preparing for the marathon, but it was still a whole month away. And it was at this moment that I absolutely did not feel the critical need to go outside on this inhospitable winter morning. I could come out later. Or another day. Or just don't run a marathon. Why am I going to run a marathon at all? But something kept me moving anyway. «Because it's fun» — I finally said, not very convincingly.

In fact, the truth is that it is at the moment when you are going for a run that is the worst time to explain to someone, or even to yourself, why you are running. It just doesn't make sense. Running is hard. It takes effort. Running is a big, meaningless circle, because after all the pain you end up where you started.

Often people tell me that they can run in order to chase the ball. But just running, putting one foot in front of the other is too boring for them. I listen and nod, because I'm not sure I could convince them otherwise, even if I tried. There is no logic in running.

Of course, some people run in order to lose weight, or to be fit — all these are good reasons. And running is also easy, because you can run whenever you want. And for this you do not need to reserve a court in advance or assemble a team. All these factors contribute to the fact that running is one of the most popular sports in the United Kingdom. According to reports from Sport England, more than two million people in England run at least once a week.

And for many of these 2 million runners, the real reason they run on the road until their muscles start to burn is more intangible than weight loss or fitness. I remember as a young man, being a pretty zealous runner, correcting people who asked me if I was running in order to be in shape. I always replied that I keep myself in good physical shape in order to run.

Many runners become obsessed with time. The desire to overcome the 40-minute barrier for 10 km or run a marathon in less than 4 hours can become the main goal. There is something encouraging about setting goals that measure your progress in clear numbers, which are actually not so easy to interpret, but which at the same time are clearly expressed achievements in this unstable world. Although in fact these figures are so inaccurate and random that they are practically useless. And as soon as a person reaches his goals, new ones immediately appear behind them.

A runner I know trained to run a marathon in less than 3 hours. As a result, he ran it in 3 hours and 2 minutes. After that I talked to him and it seemed to me that he must be very upset. But it turned out that he wasn't upset at all. He said he was really glad. If he had achieved his goal, it would have been wonderful. As it is, he still has a goal and he will try his hand next year.

No, in fact, time is not the reason why we run up and down the hills, in the wind and rain, when in fact we could stay in a cozy bed or relax while drinking our favorite drink in the pub. Time is a carrot that we hold right in front of our nose as bait. We are like little Pacemen in pursuit of new records.

«Why are we doing this to ourselves?» — this is the main slogan of running clubs across the country. I usually hear this when I'm going to run with a group of men and women in fluorescent tops, and the feeling of anticipation is mixed with the expectation of pain, despite which we are going to reach the very end. No one has given a clear answer yet. Because it's actually a rhetorical question. But deep down we all know the answer.

Running gives us pleasure. Look at how little children play. When they are passionate about the game, they can't stop running. They rush back and forth, and wind up little meaningless circles. I remember when I was an older child, sometimes I started running down the street for no particular reason. There is a wonderful moment in The Catcher in the Rye, when Holden Caulfield, caught in an unusual space between childhood and adulthood, walks through the school yard one evening and suddenly starts running. «I didn't even know what I was running for. I guess I just felt that way.» — he said.

The desire to run is innate for a person. In fact, perhaps humans evolved this way and not otherwise because of their ability to run. Christopher McDougle's bestselling book Born to Run is based on a theory developed by Harvard University scientists, which states that humans evolved through hunting, chasing animals until they fell dead from fatigue. That's why we have an Achilles tendon, arch-shaped feet, a wide pelvis and occipital ligaments in the back of the neck that support our head while running. And although even Usain Bolt lags behind all four-legged mammals in sprinting, when it comes to long distances, we are the Olympic champions of the animal kingdom. Our ancestors could catch up with even the fastest runners, such as the antelope, if they could keep them in their field of vision long enough.

One of the great Kenyan runners, Mike Boyt, once told me how he was greeted in his native village after winning the 1978 Commonwealth Games. When he was showing off his medal, his childhood friend came up to him and said, "That's all very well, but can you still catch an antelope?»

And while children and teenagers can start trotting for no particular reason, we adults can't afford to just take off and run at any moment. That's why we formalized running. We became runners. We're buying running gear. We install sweet carrots in front of our noses, download various mobile applications, we are looking for sponsors and only after that we finally start running.

Rushing along the path or through crowded city streets, splashing through puddles, letting the rain wet us and exposing ourselves to the wind, we begin to feel this half-forgotten feeling of childish joy. And right from the depths of the soul, this feeling of primitiveness rises and shakes us: we were not born to sit at the table, read the newspaper and drink coffee. We were born for a wilder existence. When we run, all our layers, all the social masks that we used to wear in decent society (father, mother, lawyer, doctor) are torn off, exposing human nature. This is a very rare thing and it can clash these two personalities. Some of us may stop, shocked by what they can really be, by how the heart is beating and how the consciousness is flying forward, struggling with our attempts to leave it all behind.

But if we push, and it will run faster, plunging into loneliness, further from the world and from the structure of our lives, we will feel in a strange elated mood, separated from everyone and at the same time connected, connected with ourselves. Having nothing but two legs that carry us forward, we begin to feel vaguely who or what we really are.

In Japan, monks from Mount Hiei run 1,000 marathons in 1,000 days in an attempt to achieve enlightenment. I once stood on the road for about 24 miles of the London Marathon, watching people run one after another. And almost every one of them was at that moment, in that place of their lives, which they rarely visit again. It was almost like looking right into their souls. Their faces were distorted by grimaces and attempts to control them, and at the same time alive. Each of them, after crossing the finish line, shone with a sense of well-being. Some of them even cried (as I did after my first marathon). This is the runner's most important fable, but by calling it that, we reduce its significance. It may just be the release of chemical active substances into the brain, but after a long run, everything in this world seems right. Everything is in its place.

And these feelings turn out to be so strong that the desire to feel it again makes us come back again and again in order to get even more.

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