Have you ever wondered how people are able to run 10 miles, 26 miles or even 100 miles without a break? Have you ever heard of a 246-kilometer race called the Spartathlon? Have you ever felt a “runner’s high”? If not, well, get ready, because over the coming weeks I’ll be telling you about these topics and more. This week, we’ll start with some basics: what running can do for you, and how you can get started.
When we’re running, our body and brain work together like a machine. Research shows that even two weeks of regular exercise such as running will provide many benefits to the body. The heart rate increases, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, and carbohydrates and fats are used as energy sources. Since many of you may already know this, I won’t go into any more detail.
What I do want to talk about is the feelings and emotional experiences we have while running. If you’re a runner, you’re not running to be healthy; instead, you want to stay healthy so you can run more and more. When was the last time you did something for yourself? It’s not like dieting to lose weight; it’s like being grateful to the universe for having come into this world in your own body. When was the last time you thanked your feet for taking you wherever you wanted to go, or for allowing you to discover amazing places?
If you don’t know how or when to start running, here’s the real secret. Running starts at any time of the day, when you put on your shoes in front of the door of your home, dormitory or office. Running starts step by step, no matter what equipment you use.
If you want to think about a given subject creatively and in detail, you can go for a short jog, say three to five kilometers. But if you want to escape from the stresses of everyday life and not think about anything, you should go out and run as fast as you can. Running can offer us some of the most important moments we have to ourselves. Especially if you’re running somewhere that brings you close to nature, such as our school’s campus, and you’ve chosen to go out around sunrise or sunset – the best times of the day – you won’t be able to stop smiling when the run is over.
While going for a run is always a great idea, it could be one of the best ideas in the world during the pandemic. And you can also help motivate the entire Bilkent community by mentioning the Bilkent Road Runners on Instagram during your jogs and runs. The Road Runners are a group of Bilkenters who share an interest in running; any member of the Bilkent community can join. Before the pandemic, we got together for runs; now, we run separately but continue to motivate each other by remaining virtually connected.
Next time, the topic will be the marathon; see you then!
About the author
Aysel, a cardiology nurse at Ankara City Hospital, is working on a second degree, in psychology, at Bilkent. She is a Salomon Team Turkey athlete and founder and captain of the Bilkent Road Runners.