Everyone knows that running helps to lose weight, get a better self-image, strengthen muscles and improve sleep. But there are other benefits that “naturally” come through training. Over time, they can dramatically change your life.
Go for a BIG goal and find yourself.
When my corporate career came to an end, I needed to find a new big challenge. By launching big business projects for corporations I could realize my professional abilities and ambitions. It was hard and challenging, but motivating. But having reached a certain limit, I could not transform to a classic corporate animal and eventually had to rediscover myself. Running and triathlon helped me a lot with this.
I found new challenges in endurance sports — specifically in triathlon and running. Somehow Ironman appeared as my personal next big thing. Getting used to big goals and not fully realizing the complexity of the task, I told my then-coach that I wanted to go for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. He laughed at me, but we started the journey, and 6 years later I started my 3,8 km swim at Kailua-Kona Bay in Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.
Later I realized that achieving this BIG goal was not the ultimate value. Going for it through training was even more valuable than the goal itself. It revealed not only my hidden physical abilities but taught me to stay humble, patient, and disciplined. That is even more important for any sphere of life.
Defeat aging by racing.
The desire to live forever, or at least not to age so quickly, is the eternal desire of human beings. Ancient people were looking for the elixir of immortality, but we still haven’t found anything. It turned out that this elixir is inside each of us — it is the human growth hormone (HGH). This hormone is actively produced in childhood. Over time, its production slows down and we begin to age. Regular exercises increase HGH production and slow aging. Anaerobic exercises like intensive running, strength training, and racing help with this.
Run away from Alzheimer's.
Running develops cognitive functions and helps to avoid the age-related problem of memory loss or dementia. It’s all about improving blood circulation throughout the body, including the brain. It’s especially good for the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for the formation of emotions, consolidation of memory, and maintaining attention. So if you feel like having a mental block, go for a run. In the process of running, for sure, new ideas will appear.
By exercising, you discover new physical abilities. Never run 4 min/km intervals? Now you can! Managed to run decently fast at 135 HR and talk? Great! Did your first 20 km run and feel great? Wow! Completed your first marathon? Feels like invincible! Yes, that’s exactly what it is. The feeling of self-confidence comes with regular training. This increases your confidence, spreading this super feeling to all spheres of life — work, home, and sports. You now feel like being able to manage the most complex tasks.
Learn to generate energy.
Sleep is the most important way to get the energy you need for whatever you want to do during the day. During sleep, the growth hormone is actively produced. The more energy is accumulated, the higher your productivity and better mood. Regular exercises dramatically improve sleep quality. Firstly, you go to bed earlier and fall into a deep sleep for at least 8 hours a day. Second, you get used to the routine. If there is a workout tomorrow morning, you’ll quickly learn to fall asleep on time and get up at 6 am. Thirdly, you’ll discover the real value of a power nap in the middle of the day.
Find amazing friendships.
Running, cycling, and triathlon training are about a quality crowd and a great community. There are people who challenge themselves and strive to achieve what others consider impossible. The strongest relationships occur in the heat of battle when you go beyond the limits of a comfortable world. There, where you test your true capabilities, best friends are made. Sweat and tears of training, the joy of competing and supporting each other is the best foundation for lasting relationships.
Save money on medicines.
Runners often joke that running is cheaper than psychotherapy. Psychologists believe that endorphin surges during exercise work better than antidepressants. Research confirms this fact.