iRun to challenge my mind, body and soul Sonia Mendes, Ontario

iRun for the cool t-shirts! Pina Bevilacqua, Ontario

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier, New Brunswick

iRun for health, i Run for life Pat Cheung, British Columbia

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar, Saskatchewan

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

iRun to stay fit and release those running endorphinsLiliana Plava, Calgary, AB

iRun because somebody once told me I couldnít Heidi Abbey-Der, Saskatchewan

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall, Alberta

iRun because I can and I’m gratefulTerry SanCartier, Gatineau, QC

iRun because itís fun when itís done Sue Matte, Ontario

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt, Halifax, NS

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher, Alberta

iRun because itís better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

iRun for me! Judi Wearing, Saskatchewan

iRun to correct years of sedentary living! Mike Scott, Ontario

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur, Quebec

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun because it's a great stress release Brooke McKenzie, Yukon

iRun because I want to be a role model for our six kids Catherine Empey, British Columbia

iRun because itís a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney, British Columbia

iRun for the challenge to go faster and farther Steven Matejka, Alberta

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor, Saskatchewan

iRun because it makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mother and a better friendNathalie Joncas-Caissie, St-Antoine, NB

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan, Alberta

iRun because itís like flying, only lower Glenn Johnson, Ontario

iRun for my heart, so it runs for me! Cathy Brzoza, British Columbia

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew, Ontario

iRun because it makes me feel good, allows me to spend time with my friends and gives me a feeling of accomplishmentHelen Kolodziejzyk, Calgary, AB

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every km Steph Mansell, Quebec

iRun because it's better than almost everything else Nathan Carey, Ontario

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent, Quťbec

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw, New Westminister, BC

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas, Ontario

iRun to eat more, especially sweet potatoe fries Joanna Skomra, Ontario

iRun because people around me inspire mePina Bevilacqua, Caledon, ON

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman, Manitoba

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello, Ontario

iRun because the wall is meant to be broken Jonathan Bird, Ontario

iRun for the challenge and to remember to fully live Pascale Synnott, Quťbec

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter, Alberta

iRun because otherwise Iím grumpy Alexandre Charest, Quebec

iRun because pecan pie, french fries and beer are chasing meTeresa Sterling, Ottawa , ON

iRun to be free and enjoy our beautiful countryCheryl Carter, Clearwater , BC

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe, British Columbia

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn't Heidi Abbey-Der, Saskatchewan

iRun so my daughters know that they can, too Shelley Kirkpatrick, New Brunswick

iRun because it helps me see things more clearly Jennifer Pitts, Ontario

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby, Saskatchewan

iRun because Iíve lost 80 lbs and running has become fun Cheryl Kelly, Ontario

iRun because itís cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston, Alberta

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every kmSteph Mansell, Quebec

iRun because I like to be healthy Melanie Oickle, New Brunswick

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp, Ontario

iRun because it reminds me of how strong I can be Monique Lavoie, Ontario

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams, Ontario

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin, Manitoba

iRun because I love the sense of accomplishment Amber Moase, Nova Scotia

iRun because all the ladies are chasing my sexy runner’s bodyChris Baker, Etobicoke, ON

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon, British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sonsKeith Bradbury, Newfoundland

iRun because I cannot say no to a second slice of chocolate cakeEmily Shandruk, Vancouver, BC

iRun to get to know myself, my strength and my spirit Lisa Groulx, Ontario

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour, Ontario

iRun for meKiza Francis, Ottawa,ON

iRun because it’s in meMichael Foley, Stittsville, ON

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sons Keith Bradbury, Newfoundland

iRun so that I can live longer and stronger Derek MacPhail, Ontario

iRun because not everyone can Olivia Harvey, New Brunswick

iRun and run, and run, and run, and nobody can stop me Andrei Lucaciu, Ontario

iRun to maintain a strong physical and mental state Tammy Rainville, Ontario

iRun away from the negative and towards the positive Teri Lepard, Alberta

iRun for the moment when both feet are off the ground Catherine Anderson, British Columbia

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard, Ontario

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou, British Columbia

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller, Laval, QC

iRun because I am not as clumsy I thought I was Hanna Baer, Quebec

iRun because it reminds me that I am capable of so much more than I have doneJames Sauve, Ottawa, ON

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brain Marie-Claude Gregoire, Nova Scotia

iRun to inspire my kids to tryGlen Johnston, Nunavut

iRun because I want to qualify for Boston and raise money for charities near and dear to my heartChristine Gracel, Calgary, AB

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn't Peter Cicalo, Ontario

iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard, Ontario

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy, Ontario

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brainMarie-Claude Gregoire, Nova Scotia

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou, British Columbia

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur, British Columbia

iRun because I never thought I would be able toGary Morris, Winnipeg, MB

iRun because I want to live to be 100! Colette DeJean, Ontario

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang, Alberta

iRun because I get foot rubs afterward Kate Howerton, British Columbia

iRun because it gets my husband out there Tricia LaLonde, Alberta

iRun because it makes me feel powerfulCarlene Paquette, Carp, ON

iRun to my happy place and some days itís very Doreen May, Alberta

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins, Alberta

iRun because when I run I feel most aliveMeghan Lynch, Ottawa, ON

iRun to prove to myself I canLesley McGougan, Brampton, ON

iRun because it gives my day a boost of energy Sara Campbell, Nova Scotia

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop, Yukon

iRun because I canít dance Mario Javier, Ontario

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham, Avonmore, ON

iRun because I need it to soothe the soul, keep me in shape and for overall wellbeingBeth Neil, Lombardy, ON

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie, Ontario

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen, Manitoba

iRun because it cleans up my life, because I drink more water, sleep better and eat healthier foodsRobin McIntyre, Ottawa, ON

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldnít Peter Cicalo, Ontario

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith, Manitoba

iRun because of the peace and strength it brings meMichelle Jordan, Ottawa, ON

iRun to challenge myself, physically and mentallyKathleen Keenan, Brampton, ON

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh, Nottingham, UK

iRun so I donít say never ever again Linda Klaric, Manitoba

iRun because it's cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter, Alberta

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan, Ontario

iRun whenever I feel the need to escape Iona Hillis, Ontario

iRun see where my feet will take me todayMegan Dolinskas, New York

Cover photo from the current issue of iRun Magazine

Workout Wednesday

My Best Running Race

February 2013

Back to Table of Contents

Why I Run: Eat. Sleep. Run.

The other day I faced a dilemma. I could go for a run or work on this column. There was not enough time left in my day to do both.

Guess which one I chose. 

I have a busy professional life, I’m a volunteer in my community and I have a young family, with two children under four years old. But somehow in the past year, I’ve managed to increase my running mileage significantly. A little over a year ago, in a typical week I ran four or five times a week; now I usually run six.

Every so often someone will ask me, “How do you find time to run?” I used to wonder that myself. But now my answer is simple: I couldn’t do all the other things in my life if I wasn’t running. 

Nobody ever asks you how you find enough time to eat or sleep. But you couldn’t get anything done if you didn’t do both every single day. For me, running has become almost as fundamental to my existence.

I know that sounds obsessive or extreme or even a bit dramatic, especially to a non-runner. I might be a bit compulsive about running, but I’m not glorifying it or making it the equivalent of some sort of new-age spirituality. 

I’m just stating a fact: for me, running brings so many practical benefits that I don’t view it as taking time away from other things. Staying physically active, which for me means running, is just as important for my wellbeing as food and rest.

The physical payback is clear. I’m healthier. I probably don’t sleep enough, but I sleep better and deeper. And because I run, I make better food choices. 

Running also doesn’t tire me out. On the contrary, it gives me energy. I am always more productive after a run than before it. If I’m hitting a wall in the middle of the day, a run gets me back on track.

But the greatest benefit I get from running is mental. Most days, it’s the only quiet time I have. I think through my current challenges. I kick around ideas in my head. I think about long-term goals. And sometimes I don’t think at all. 

If I’m struggling with a column, I’ll often sort it out on a run. I get more done on the days I run than those when I don’t. And when I get home from a run, I usually have a bunch of things I have to write down, which I take as a sign that the time has been productive, rather than simply a break from my other activities.

When I’m out with my training buddy, we solve all of the world’s problems and attack many of our own. If it weren’t for running, we’d hardly see each other.

There are two tips I’ve tried to follow to maintain my training in spite of many other things competing for my time. The first is that I put running blocks in my schedule, so that I don’t run out of time for it. And sometimes I reschedule other appointments if it means I won’t get to run. You have to be that diligent about it.

The second is that I try to take the advice of Kathrine Switzer. The marathon pioneer once told me if you only have 20 minutes available, run for 20 minutes rather than not run at all. I rarely run for that short a time, but on some days I take whatever I can get. 

Most of all, I try to avoid the pitfall of missing a run because I have too many other things to do. Martin Luther was quoted as saying, “I have so much to do today, I’ll need to spend another hour on my knees.” I’m not saying running compares to praying, but the analogy is a good one. When things are at their busiest and craziest, that’s when I need running the most.

Eat. Sleep. Run. They are all essential to me. And rather than taking time, running adds to my day by making me healthier and more productive.

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