How Running Has Changed My Life—And Can Change Yours

Carissa Liebowitz

Running has changed my life. It has made me more confident, more positive, and more determined. It has made my heart healthier, my legs stronger, and my mind sharper.

The friendships I have made through training runs and races are immeasurable. I have had the privilege of seeing some of the most beautiful places in the world because of running.

Running is there when I have had a really great day and I feel as though I am floating along the top of the world. But running is also there when I have had a really tough day.

It can calm me down, sort out my feelings, or at least make me a little more understanding. Running helps me realize the things that are truly important:

I appreciate everything my body can do because of running.

If there is a physical task or chore, it is easier because I am a runner. Climbing stairs, mowing the lawn, or even spending a day at an amusement park is better because I am a runner. I am better at most sports and cross-training because my body is strong from running.

Running has made me better at dealing with life challenges.

I often think about how if I made it through that training run or that race, I can make it through anything. Running has taught me that I can keep crossing finish lines, but that the journey is ongoing.

Running has given me a gift to explore the world.

Whether it is finding new routes in my neighborhood or seeing a city on foot, running has allowed me to access places a car doesn’t go. Some of my favorite travel memories are early morning runs past skyscrapers, down country roads, or along the ocean.

Running has opened up the door to countless friendships.

Other runners understand tying your shoelace on a long run is just a way to catch your breath and that porta-potty humor never gets old. These people know how a potential injury seems apocalyptic and the letters P and R can bring happy tears to even the toughest runner.

Running has made me more confident.

I am more outspoken, more extroverted, and more comfortable in my own skin. I am more apt to go after what I want and less afraid to let opportunities pass me by. Running has given me the courage to hang outside of my comfort zone without fear.

Most importantly, running has made me a better version of me.

Much like a great friendship or relationship, running makes me healthier and happier. It gives me a reason to make better choices in my life whether it is accomplishing more in my career or eating a healthier dinner. It relaxes me, it strengthens me, and it balances me. Running has not just changed my life, it has shown me the gift of life.

Carissa Liebowitz has run the Boston Marathon as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.

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