Why do you run?

Not everyone embraces running, or understands why someone could love it so much, when for many people, it seems like a form of drudgery or punishment.  More often than not, non-runners will look at me sideways and ask me what the heck “this runners high is all about”.  They truly want answers, because they have never felt it.

I think the runner’s high is very different for everyone, but if I had to explain it, I would say it’s like the cycle of a wave that builds with energy, strength and power ~ literally washing over your body and soul during the course of your run ~ until it crests and breaks, leaving you with a very tranquil and “zen-like” feeling after the run is over.

That’s what it’s like for me, at least.

I can’t speak for anyone else ~ but I do believe that each person’s run will grant them what they need from that run ~ and that is their high.

I find great inspiration in learning what my fellow runners gain from their runs, and what motivates them.

Girls With Sole is happy to have GUEST BLOGGER, and fellow runner, RUTH COFFEY, to share this awesome post with us today!  Enjoy!


“Non-runners frequently ask those of us with the running bug, why do you run?  The responses range from fitting into a specific pair of jeans, to physical benefits of being fit. During this week before Christmas I am reminded that, without running, I don’t think I would have survived some of the toughest times of my life.

There are instances when we can share what we’re experiencing with friends or family. They can be very compassionate and empathetic but no-one can take sadness or grief and carry that for you.  Running has allowed me to know that even in the worst of times I can still go outside and put one foot in front of the other.  My breathing may start out short and choppy.  My legs may have turned to lead.  I  may only cover a single mile but at the end I’ll know that I’ve accomplished something.  Something normal that hasn’t changed in spite of whatever life changing event is weighing on me. 


I went through a divorce after a long period of nursing my first husband through a life-threatening illness.  Our marriage had been a place of hospitals, oncology reports and what felt like endless waiting for results.  It then became a place of strain and distance, of recriminations and regrets, until it fell apart.  When we parted ways 12 years ago,  I felt lost and rudderless.

 The first morning I woke up alone, I knew nothing other than to lace up my running shoes and slowly set out.  I barely managed to place one foot after the other.  I sobbed the entire time I ran.  My heart ached with every step.  But I ran and it was something familiar, something that was mine.  Covering a few short miles was one thing I did not need to beat myself up about and I craved that self-acceptance so much.

 It was at that time that I decided to sign up for my first marathon.  Holding myself to that routine, having to get out of bed and face the world, having to move and cover the miles did far more than make me physically stronger.  It allowed me to see something good in me.  I was able to do something right. 

Running built my confidence and gave me a reason to live.  It has continued to be there for me in that way.


I write this as we approach December 23rd and the fifth anniversary of my precious Dad’s death.  He was an avid sports man and I remember the pride in his voice when I called to share my finish time in that first marathon.  Hearing his delight down the phone almost made my heart burst.  Every time I run, it allows me to feel a connection with him.  As I run, I feel his energy and coordination.  When I want to quit, I know he wouldn’t and it spurs me on.  It is when I am most aware of how much of my Dad is with me all the time.

 I am now lucky enough to be married to the love of my life.  My artist husband is so talented and creative, it can be easy to question what he sees in me.  Running allows me to acknowledge that I have strength and endurance.  It reminds me I’m determined and that I will push myself to achieve.  These are attractive qualities! The night my husband and I met was the night before a half-marathon.  I had to leave the party we were at a little early because of my run the next day.  That was his excuse to walk me to my car ….. we’ve been inseparable ever since. 

So next time you go for a run, take a moment to think about why you do it, the people you’ve met through running, those you are close to because of it.  It truly is a gift to be able to run and to enjoy all the benefits it brings.”


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