8 Surprising Ways Life Changes When You Start Running

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When we start something new, we begin to notices changes in our daily lives. The same applies to running.

When I started this brilliant sport, I noticed changes in my day to day living. I thought these were strange and unique to me but after chatting to a few runner friends I found out that these changes happen across the board. In this article, we’ll investigate the ways life changes when you start running.

What if being scared of change puts you off running?

Many people fear change. We are creatures of habit and tend to do the same things, again and again. The thought of doing something different creates fear and anxiety for some due to the unknown. Funnily enough, this fear of change can be the main reason lots of people don’t start running and continue to put it off. Sometimes, for years.

However, you can rest assured that changes brought about by running are nothing to fear and are all mainly positive. Later on in this article, we’ll be looking at all the positive changes which occur during the first few weeks and months of starting a running regime.

You have lots of amazing results to look forward to as a result of your new running regime.  Don’t be scared of change and remember that change is good. Whenever you feel anxious about changes brought about by running, remember that they are for your own good.

Think of the quote attributed to Albert Einstein and remember that change is good for you:

‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.’

What are the ways life changes when you start running?

1. You lose weight

I have never considered myself an overweight person but I have certainly had a chubby face at certain points in my life. Something which happened during the first couple of months as a runner was that I started getting comments that I had lost weight. Especially around the face.

As I live with myself, day-in-day out, I didn’t notice any change so wasn’t convinced by the comments. However, a picture from a few months ago then appeared on a social media account and I was gobsmacked at how much facial weight I’d lost!

The running had made the excess weight come straight off and I was left with a healthy looking, more sharp jawline. Needless to say, it was a huge confidence boost and I started feeling much better about myself.

If you are overweight and do with losing a couple of pounds, running is the ‘miracle cure’ I would recommend to you. It’s virtually free (bar some good running trainers and clothing), can be done anywhere, gets you quick results and is incredibly fun.

When you start running regularly, you will probably experience some weight loss. As a rule of thumb, the more you weigh the more weight you will lose when you start running.

Of course, weight loss is subject to a balanced diet which is not heavily steeped in sugary foods and bad fats. You are what you eat, after all! Eat healthily when you start running, and your weight will head towards an optimal state.

2. You will appreciate the outdoors more

Something which I totally didn’t expect to happen when I started running was that I began to appreciate the outdoors a lot more.

Like lots of others, I work in an office environment in a busy city which means I don’t spend too much time outside. I didn’t realise it but I had begun to lose the love for the outdoors which I had built as a child and through the many adventures of my teenage years. I just didn’t have a good enough reason to get out to my surroundings and into nature on a regular basis.

After I started running, everything changed. I only run outside and refuse to run on a treadmill (I don’t believe in paying to run in a gym!) my running experiences were all in the outdoors. I ran through my city, past the beech, in the local woods, forests, recreational grounds, nature reserves and parks. I immediately fell back in love with nature and found that I had a newfound appreciation of the outdoors.

Now I look forward to running because it means I get to be out in the open and experience a sensation of freedom. I try and arrange social gatherings with friends and family out in natural areas of woodland and parks too. The outdoors makes me feel relaxed and calm but also fills me up with energy.

You can also benefit from a newfound appreciation of the outdoors too when you start running on a regular basis. You’ll feel calmer, more relaxed and enjoy your runs a lot more. It’s changed my life completely and it can change yours too.

Start running and you will appreciate the outdoors a lot more.

3. You will have more energy

I remember life before I ran on a regular basis. I’d constantly lack the energy I needed to get up and go to make something of the day. I stayed up late, got up late, woke myself up with multiple cups of coffee and resembled a walking-talking zombie. Not good, not fun. Needless to say, my productivity was awful and I lacked enthusiasm.

However, I now run every day (usually in the morning) and I find I have bundles of energy to get up and go to make something of the day.

Running first thing in the morning is the equivalent of having 5 cups of coffee without the jittery shakes that would come with consuming such a radical amount.

The workout first thing gets me moving, has my blood pumping and produces feel good chemicals – like dopamine and endorphins – which race around my blood stream and make me feel good. As you can probably guess, the story of my day after a morning run is filled with more productivity, enthusiasm and energy than the day where I didn’t run in the morning.

4. You will sleep better

What’s more, running in the day helps me to fall asleep early and get a decent night’s sleep because my body needs to sleep to recover itself from the workout.

As someone who suffered from insomnia, I’m now very happy to not be lying in bed for hours on end desperately trying to nod off with nothing but my own thoughts for company. We’ve all experienced that and it just isn’t fun.

If you suffer from sleep problems, like insomnia, starting to run will help you with this. You’ll fall asleep easier and have higher quality sleep. A fantastic change that I noticed when I started running.

5. You’ll start eating better

Before I started running, my diet and eating habits weren’t the best. I’d have an irregular appetite and would eat lots of junk food like crisps, chocolate, biscuits and tonnes of processed meat. Whilst I wasn’t fat thanks to the high amount of walking I do, I knew my organs weren’t appreciating all the sugar, bad fats and cholesterol. Not good; apologies for my heart and liver are in order!

However, when I started running I found all of this changed. I found that – after running first thing in the morning – I would have an appetite to eat a proper breakfast. Previously, I had often skipped breakfast due to not having enough time or the appetite and it would often be something non-nutritious like a really sugary cereal or even a chocolate bar.

Now I eat breakfast every morning and because I need proper nutrients to recover from the running I eat quality meals like eggs on whole-wheat toast or some nice porridge oats. I feel more energised throughout the morning and feel I am doing my body a good service by not filling it with junk.

I continue this pattern of proper eating throughout the day and find that I now eat healthy meals at lunch and dinner with regular snacking of nuts, seeds and fruit in between. I eat much better now that I have started running.

How will I know that I’ll eat healthier? Won’t I just stick to junk food?
You might be thinking ‘how will I know that I’ll eat healthier? Won’t I just stick to junk food?’ which is a fair comment to make. However, you’ll soon find that a junk food diet will be unsustainable when you start running.

Like a race-car which needs the correct fuel to travel quickly and efficiently down the race track, you need the correct fuel to run and repair the body correctly. You wouldn’t put diesel in a petrol race-car as this could lead to poor performance and damage to the engine.

Similarly, eating junk food when you start running means you’ll perform poorly in your workouts and your body won’t repair itself efficiently. In other words, running sort of forces you to eat healthier! This really worked for me and I now look forward to eating a vast array of healthy foods every week.

If you know you don’t eat properly and suffer an irregular appetite, running could be the solution for you. Give it a try and see for yourself.

6. You will meet new people

One of the biggest changes you will experience in your life as a new runner is meeting new people.

I started running with the assumption that it’d be a solitary experience. After all, running is a solo sport and you rarely run as part of a team (except for in fun relay races!). It’s not like football, rugby or netball, where you participate alongside teammates. However, I quickly discovered my preconceptions were totally wrong; I met tonnes of new people.

How did I start to meet new people if running is a solo sport?

There are plenty of opportunity to meet new people as a runner; here’s just a few of the opportunities which I have experienced.

  • Parkrun – I started to attend parkrun, a free weekly timed 5K, every Saturday morning. Parkrun is brilliant as it is a regular running experience for the local running community set up by the local community.Attending Parkrun every Saturday morning gives me the chance to speak to and meet other individuals in my community. I quickly discovered the Parkrun community is extremely friendly and welcoming to newbies. I quickly made a lot of new friends and I continue to develop these friendships every Saturday morning in the 20 minutes of socialising before the race.
  • Running clubs – a fantastic way to meet new like-minded people and I would highly recommend you join one as soon as possible after you start running. After my first two months as a new runner, I felt confident enough to join a local running club.Running clubs typically meet once or twice a week with each session focusing on the group improving running performance. Sessions tend to revolve around form, technique, speed and strength workouts and long runs.  Being part of a running club means belonging to a community which can provide enduring memories, experiences and companionship.

7. Your wardrobe space gets smaller

If you want to run properly, you’ll need some proper clothing to wear. Running shoes, shorts, leggings, vests, shirts and long sleeved tops, are great essentials for running all year round. Naturally, getting running clothes means your wardrobe space will diminish slowly but surely.

I love shopping for running clothing. There’s literally thousands of different brands, styles and types of running clothing to choose from. What’s more, I find that different clothing – particularly the shoes I wear – can really make a difference to my performance. For instance, I’m currently trialling the Asics Gel Phoenix 9 trainers which I find very comfortable. This comfort makes me feel relaxed when training and competition, subsequently leading to quicker performances and better form.

Your wardrobe getting smaller isn’t a major life change when you start running but it’s a change, none the less. Expect it to happen!

For more information on running clothing check out these blog posts: 

8. Your mental health improves

According to mental health charity ‘Mind‘, 1 in 6 people in England report experiencing a common health problem like depression or anxiety in any given week. That’s a high number of people who are miserable, down and not in a good state of mind and ultimately likely to have a lower quality of life. Not good. Did you know that running can make you happier?
When you exercise, your brain releases feel-good chemicals. Amongst those chemicals are dopamine and serotonin, which are associated with happiness and pleasure. Running improves your mood by changing biochemistry in the brain, a scientifically proven fact. It’s ironic that we often dread going for a run when going for a run can do wonders for our mood  and contribute to better overall mental health.
Whilst the first few moments of running may be difficult, the brain starts releasing feel-good neurotransmitters and you’ll feel better before you know it. The best thing is that the good mood you get from running lasts many hours after the run finishes, so you can be a happier person in your everyday life.

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