This evening I was having a conversation with my husband about why women run. Or more specifically why I run. There are the obvious reasons - being able to eat without guilt, and the energy that I feel once I have completed a run, but for me, a run is not about exercise - it is about therapy.
I realized the other day that for about the last 12 years my sister and I have met on a fairly consistent basis once, sometimes twice a week to run. We have run through a total of five pregnancies and several jobs and the ups and downs of marriages. During this same time period, I began to run with a friend who was not a runner, those first months were hard - there was a lot of walking on my part and days when I didn't log as many miles or sweat as much as I would have liked. Through the years the tables have turned my now non-running friend has to slow down for me to catch up and there have been many times I am the one needing to walk. Why do we do this? - it's therapy.
Relationship with my sister and my friend have grown in ways probably not possible without our early morning meetings. We are the only two around, no kids, no husbands, no work, no phones, no distractions. We run and we talk. We talk about our week, our kids, our husbands, our jobs. We talk about our fears, our desires, our joys, our disappointments. We talk and we run - we have one hour of uninterrupted time. This is guilt free time because we are exercising and it is 5:30 in the morning so the rest of our families are still sleeping.
I believe the surge in women's running over the last 20 years has less to do with running and more to do with friendship therapy. Meeting in this way does have great benefits for your cardiovascular system and your "bottom" line, but I think mostly its therapy. When I am feeling stressed and anxious, worn out and uptight I just need a good run. But what I need most is a good run with a great friend.
Why women run ... its friendship therapy.