Whatever You Do, Do It for YOU

doitforyouIs there anything better than hearing that someone has learned to embrace running (or cycling, or swimming, or CrossFit, or really, any form of exercise)? I love hearing those words, and I love sharing tips and hearing people’s stories. I enjoy doing what I can to help them through any struggles they might have, and, hey, you want encouragement? I will be your biggest cheerleader.

It’s fascinating to talk to people about why they do what they do; especially when it comes to runners and other endurance athletes. I mean, we’re kind of a notable bunch of crackpots. Some of the workouts we do in order to become better at our sport? They’re not exactly for everyone. They might be a little nuts. That kind of training is hard work. It’s time consuming. It’s exhausting. It hurts. And, while it eventually gets a little less difficult, it never actually becomes easy.

So why do it?

kristen running
It won’t take much imagination to realize I don’t do this to feel sexy. I do it to feel AWESOME, and that is so much better. Credit: Jared Seymour

Well, according to a survey by Clear Sky App’s 0-5k Runner app, 68 percent of women and 64 percent of men started running “in order to feel sexier and more confident with the opposite sex.”

Take a second and think about that. They started running because they wanted to be more comfortable around somebody else.

What about feeling comfortable for you? What about just feeling good in your own skin? My hackles? They are raised.

There are about a zillion great reasons to run or exercise. A quick survey among my friends revealed health as a top priority. Jacki is a breast cancer survivor and intends to keep it that way. Kevin appreciates the fact that it requires concentration but isn’t stressful, complements his karate training and is social. Lisa was once 226 pounds and never wants to see that number on the scale again. Nancy wants to stave off long-term illness. Dean runs “for the known benefits including release of beneficial neurotransmitters, and decreased likelihood of Alzheimer’s and heart disease. Plus, exercise allows me to justify eating bagels.” (It’s kind of no wonder we’re friends.)

I don’t want to discount the importance of exercise increasing self-confidence, but I don’t believe that wanting to boost self-esteem is at all the same as wanting to feel sexy around someone with whom you might want to get naked. Is it likely that, once you feel like a rock star, you’ll also feel more confident around other people? Sure! But should that be your main objective? HELL TO THE NO.

Run because it’s good for your health.

Run because you enjoy feeling strong and fit.

Run because you like the people you run with.

Run because you like the endorphins.

Run because you want to see just how strong and fast you can be.

Run because you want to have more energy to play with your kids.

Run because after 2 (or 5, 10 or 20) miles, you feel like an absolute badass.

Run because you enjoy being outside.

Run because it’s something fun to do with your dog or your kids or your friends.

Run because it lets you see what kind of tough stuff you’re made of.

Run because you can’t fathom not running.

Run because, one day, you might not be able to.

Run (or do whatever it is you do) because you can. But for the love of Bob Harper, don’t do it for someone else. Do it for you. —Kristen


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  1. Yes, yes, YES to all this. When I first started running in 2010 it was because I wanted to get into the road racing scene, which I thought was a really cool community (still think so). And I liked the idea of setting and achieving goals, wanted to set myself up for long-term health, and I’m an improvement junkie (love looking back to see how far I’ve come).

    Then in 2012 I got pregnant. I was high risk and wound up first with activity restrictions and then on bed rest, not allowed to move from my bed or the couch except to shower and get myself something to eat if my husband wasn’t home to get it for me. I couldn’t even go for a walk around the block. And it didn’t work – my daughter was born 8.5 weeks premature despite my having parked my butt on the couch.

    Now my daughter is 13 months old and several days each week we roll out the jogging stroller and go for a run together, because I CAN. We’re training for a half marathon (although she won’t accompany me during the race!), and every time I lace up my sneakers and head out the door I remember how terrible it felt to not even be able to go for a short walk without worrying that I was harming my baby. I will never take running for granted, ever, and my main motivation for running for the rest of my life will be the simple fact that I CAN.

    Also, I like the race t-shirts. 😉

  2. People may start out running to feel sexier but you gotta know they end up feeling better about themselves. If that’s what it takes to get some people out the door, I have no problem with that. What keeps them coming back is how they feel inside.

  3. This is so great, I’m glad I came across your site. I am just starting to get into running. (or any kind of exercise for that matter). I have done a couple 5ks, one of witch I ended up walking the whole way because of a minor back injury. I had already paid for it so I decided to go anyway. During the race all I kept thinking about is… I want to run (and do all sorts of other exercises) now because some day I might not be able to at all! And that freaks me out! Love your site!