A new Danish study came out recently that was searching to find the correlation between jogging and its long term effects on mortality. The study aimed to discover if the intensity at which you run certain distances helps you live longer or kills you faster. Big surprise, they found that light running a few times a week helps you live longer than running strenuously regularly. It boiled down to this:
When prescribing exercise to improve longevity, strenuous exercise is not necessary and might reduce the health benefits of light to moderate physical activity. (Click Here to see the study.)
I was talking to a reporter from the New York Daily News about the study yesterday, giving my two cents (CLICK HERE for the article) , and her questions quickly turned from does the study put your decision to run marathons into perspective to why do you run. I can’t begin to explain how truly bizarre it was to voice my passion for running, out loud. The timing couldn’t have been eerier, just two days ago I wrote about how running has helped me forge a new path for myself.
It was empowering and equally terrifying to say those things out loud to another person. This is crazy because I sit here every day and reveal things about myself day in and day out. Writing something down and proclaiming it with conviction live in two very different ball parks. It was really strange to voice why I run, almost like I was hearing them for the first time.
At the end of the day, I don’t care that running hard won’t help me live longer because no matter how hard you try you can’t control your mortality. Does that mean you shouldn’t take care of yourself because we are all going to die? No. The study doesn’t make me question my decisions to run endurance races even for a second. Most doctors will tell you that running marathons aren’t exactly great for you. They are hard on your joints, knees, entire body, etc. etc. etc. I’ve strained and pulled muscles, developed runner’s knee in both knees, and I have issues pop up regularly.
But I can’t not run (Which is bizarre because it feels like yesterday that I would rather fling myself into a lake filled with crocodiles than run). Running is so much more than a way to keep my cupcake habit in check. Most runners say the same thing, they just feel compelled to kick the pavement; that they don’t feel like themselves when they aren’t training and pushing their limits. Running is a great way to escape. It puts pain into perspective and taught me I can endure so much more than I thought. It’s helped me escape my life when I feel stuck, develop a confidence when mine is shattered on the floor, and it’s helped me find joy in terrifying and painful experiences. There’s no greater feeling than doing something you didn’t think you could. It doesn’t have to be running, it could be painting, writing, biking, golfing, swimming, boxing, lifting, walking, falling in love, changing jobs, going back to school, speaking publicly, or meditating. We all put these limits on ourselves that are absolutely ridiculous. They stop us from trying and somehow lead us to believe that “failing,” whatever that means, is much more paralyzing and intimidating than trying.
Running has put fail better into perspective for me. I remember in June of 2013 when I ran my first marathon I was driving home from the finish line, practically unconscious, and my Dad asked me if I would ever do it again. I screamed, “Absolutely! But next time I want to do it faster than 4 hours.” (I ran it in 4 hours and 40 minutes that year.) Well a year later, I ran my next marathon in 4 hours and 11 minutes, 11 minutes short of my goal. But is that a failure? Not to me. I’m ecstatic and incredibly proud of my time. Failure isn’t daring to try, that’s courage. The only way you can fail is if you stop yourself from trying that thing you are most afraid to do. Fail better, always dare to fail better. Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.