Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Running and Stress Reduction

Ever have anyone ask you why you run?  More and more, I realize that I'm a very social runner.  I almost always run with someone else.  I have a hard time motivating myself to run alone.  I guess the social aspect must be one of the main reasons that I run.

But what I find even more interesting, is how I feel when I don't run as often as I want.  I don't really feel lonely. I don't necessarily miss my friends.  Despite it being a social activity, I don't necessarily miss the social part so much. However, I definitely notice an increase in my stress level. I also become more irritable and more easily agitated.  Clearly, running must be a large part of my coping strategy, a way to deal with stress even if I don't recognize that as one of the main reasons why I run.

I'm not sure if it's the running itself or the combination of running and talking that works so well for me.  Whatever it is, it works. So going with an analogy along the lines of the saying that running is cheaper than therapy*, perhaps my running partners are my therapists and the trail is my couch, or something like that.

Where am I going with this?

As it turns out, I haven't been able to run after work during the week since November due to lack of daylight.  Eek!  Not a recipe for a happy me.

Well, we finally have just enough daylight to make a 30 min run possible.  So I met up with two of my running friends after work yesterday, so we ran.  Afterwards, I felt terrific!  Not in the "this was a great run the way that people who normally measure runs" kind of way, but in a "wow, I forgot how effective running is at melting away my mid-week stress, especially right after work!"  I'd venture to guess that my co-workers will find me much more pleasant to be around today.

How about you?  Is running a big part of your coping strategy as well?  If so, do you find that running solo works for you?  Or are you a social running like me? 

* I'm not fully convinced that running actually *is* cheaper than therapy.  However, I am certain that it is more fun.  ;-)


  1. I feel better when I've run, too. In fact, I feel better after any kind of exercise! Glad you got your run in!

  2. Running is a HUGE part of my coping mechanisms. Solo or with others, it lets me concentrate on something else, work things out, completely zone out and sometimes just concentrate on how much pain I am in. :)

  3. Couldn't agree more! Especially my Saturday group runs help. During this run I get all my stress out and then can relax for the weekend!

  4. I'm with you...running is very therapeutic to me! I like running with friends, too. It's hard to motivate myself for long runs, so I agree with you on that one, too! :0)

  5. I hate biking alone, I always want to ride with someone, if I cant, it is off to the basement for me.

  6. Running has always been my mental release. When I can't run for a long period of time due to injury or illness, I get really cranky. I love running with others, but I'm good to go solo, too, but lately I'm with the dog, so I'm not exactly alone.

    Happy trails, Lisa!

  7. running is a huge coping mechanism for me. i tend to like to run alone or just with hubs...i prefer to not really talk a lot unless its a really leisurely run and if i have a lot of stress to relieve, need the "alone" time in my head.

  8. Running serves many purposes for me. Sometimes it's great for relaxing and clearing the mind, other times it is where I can think through things and come up with ideas

  9. I used to get incredibly grumpy if I didn't run but having been injured for awhile now I'm learning to cope with that aspect of myself. I definitely agree its a stress reliever!!