39 Benefits of Running

Updated: August 14, 2023

August 14, 2023 in Training guides

Running is a great way to get in shape, build endurance, and improve overall health and well-being. It can benefit your physical and mental well-being, from boosting self-confidence to reducing stress. Running can help you lose weight, become stronger, increase cardiovascular fitness, and more.

Running has given me many opportunities including, training and racing abroad, meeting world-class athletes and TV personalities, representing my area, appearing on TV, magazines, and newspapers but most importantly it continues to teach me a lot about myself. Check out some of the benefits you could discover.


What are the Benefits of Running

Whether you are an experienced runner or just starting, the benefits of running are plentiful. Running can help build stronger bones and muscles, improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress, and boost self-confidence. It is also a great way to explore new places, escape from the daily grind of life, and meet new people.

1. Meet New People 

When starting running, joining a running club will allow you to meet many new people of all different ages and backgrounds. Some of my best friends I have met have been from my training groups at running clubs.

If you do not know where your local running club is a simple Google search can often tell you. Also, have a look at the site for your National governing body they may be able to help you. 

Alternatively, sign up for a platform such as Strava and you may find some groups that regularly run together you could link up with. 

2. Social Events

If you decide to join a running club, many organize social activities such as a summer BBQ or a Christmas meal. Great way to add more events and fun activities to your social calendar.

TOP TIP - Arrange a celebration meal after 1 or 2 of your goal races or club races. That way you can really enjoy the achievement after a hard training block.

3. Form Relationships 

I know many people who have started dating and even married people at a running club; my partner and I even met through running!!

Although running is considered an individual sport, the support in the community is great. You can help each other out in different ways. For example, pacing one of your beginner training partners to try and achieve their goal time. 

4. Competitive

If you want it to be running, can be very competitive with others and yourself. You can set yourself goals to run faster or further - check out our guide Here , or how about over rougher terrain? 

But remember, it does not have to be competitive you could start running just for your own enjoyment or even do a race for fun and not worry about the time or position. 

5. Park Run

ParkRun is a weekly run of 5k. These are now held worldwide; running can give you access to these events. They are free, and your time is displayed on the Parkrun website.

Benefits of running: Teamwork

6. Team Element

Although many will see running as an individual sport, there is also a large team element if you join a road runners club. You may also have the opportunity to get a club vest so you feel part of the team.

7. Mental Resilience

For many, running will be a big challenge, particularly when first starting, but if you can overcome it, whether running further than you ever have or climbing a huge hill, it will give you skills you need in later life. The work ethic you can develop can help you in other areas of your life and career.

8. Confidence

The internal confidence you can build by running a Personal Best time or feeling fit and healthy through physical activity is a real benefit. Running can improve mood and help alleviate symptoms of stress and low self-esteem.

9. Achievement

If you complete a race or event, the sense of achievement you will feel after it will be great, particularly the first time you complete a distance or the fastest time you have run, your legs may be tired, but the sense of achievement will get you through the week after a big event.

You can set yourself both short-term and long-term goals to work toward. When you reach them you could reward yourself, or celebrate with family to really make the most of your achievement. 

10. Prizes

If you decide to complete a running race, there can be many different prizes on offer for finishing first, and often, in the bigger events, a "goodie bag" is given out. This may contain various treats from sponsors such as energy bars, drinks, and often an event t-shirt.

11. Category prizes

As Running events appeal to all, there are often prizes for the first overall finishers and the category. This could be Male and Female and then ages, for example, under 20, over 40, over 50, over 60, and 70 years plus. This means you will often have races within the race with people competing for placing in their category.

12. Inspiration

It's hard to attend an event without being inspired. There are often many inspiring stories of personal challenges people have overcome to finish or compete in an event. For example, the London marathon is filled with inspiring stories which help you get your trainers on.

13. Strength

Running regularly can help build up muscle strength, making activities and daily tasks easier, such as going on a long walk or climbing the stairs at the office, while your legs may be tired after a training run. Rest assured, you will also build strength and endurance in your upper body and muscles.

14. Aerobic Fitness

Running will increase your aerobic fitness and again help you by doing so in daily life. Be it having more energy to play with your kids or more energy to exercise or go dance.

This is one of the most common reasons many people start running and can be a strong reason why initially. Although we also hope that once you have started many of the other benefits we have listed will take effect and keep you going. 


15. Feel Happy

A regular running routine can make you happy; the runner's high is a common term used to describe the feeling you have directly after completing a run. But even more so, going out and exercising has many proven health benefits and makes us feel great. Try it.

16. Stress Relief

Going for a run can provide numerous mental benefits and act as great stress relief; for example, getting a run in after work can help you forget a tough day and switch off, so you are ready to enjoy your evening.

17. Work Opportunities

There are opportunities to earn money in relation to running, whether it be coaching or looking to become a certified running coach, personal trainer, a role as a physio or in sports medicine, or how about a massage therapist. The interest in running could make you consider qualifying for one of these roles. 

18. Organize Events

Sometimes runners end up organizing some of the best races for runners. This is because they know what's essential, for example, creating a fast 10k course with a low entry fee and getting the results out quickly, the word can then spread, and people often are willing to travel to take part.

19. Raise Money for Charity

Running events have long been a great way to gain sponsorship for a deserving charity, particularly runners who tend to take on longer distances. Half and full marathons to raise money or awareness for a range of causes.

20. Commute

Running is an excellent way of getting to and from somewhere. I remember in my teens running back home from friends' houses across the town, phone, and wallet in hand. Running a few miles back to your car from work with a colleague is an excellent way to sometimes beat traffic and save money.

21. Running Clothing

Running kit has come in huge amounts in the last few years, with a range of providers helping you feel and look your best while on the run, during an event, or relaxing after a race. Remember to prepare for the conditions, for example a decent waterproof jacket will help you get through the winter months. 

22. Running Shoes

Running Shoes are arguably the most crucial part of your kit as a runner – particularly over the last few years with the introduction of carbon-plated shoes. This has been a huge talking point in the running world, but remember, they are not a must-have; I and many other runners ran for years without them. Don't be put off if they are out of budget.

23. New Places

Running can take you places you may never have seen. For example, I have done races in France and training camps in Portugal all because of running. It also allows you to see more than you might perhaps in a walk. For example, my partner and I ran along the Welsh coast back in 2022 and covered in an hour what would have probably taken most of the day to walk.

24. Off-road Running

Off-road running can be a lot of fun; the navigation of the trails keeps it fresh and interesting it is also a great way of building more strength in the legs.

25. Track

Running on the track is excellent, particularly when running fast interval sessions. Being able to run on the track, particularly in a group of similar-ability runners, is a lot of fun.

Track racing is also very common, particularly in the summer. Some of my very first races were on a grass track at school. 

Indoor track is also an option although not quite as popular and common. If you find you love track racing, It's certainly worth looking in to.

26. Cross Country

Cross-country races are great fun, as it's a chance to forget your watch and just race against the terrain and your competitors. These races are generally held over the winter months and can get particularly muddy.

27. Recognition

Getting a good result at a local, national, or even international race can give you recognition. You might see yourself in a local paper or magazine, have your photo on a website, or even be recognized by your company at work if you do well.

28. Represent your Country

For the few, they may reach the highest level in the sport by being able to represent their country. In running, this can be at the elite level or age group.

29. Help with other Sports

Many other sports would benefit from running well; many team sports, Football, Rugby, basketball, and netball, all involve running, and many additional sports benefit from aerobic development and health benefits.

30. Range of Events

There are many different types and lengths of races and events to try, from 5k to 50k plus to track, road, cross country, mountain, and trail. There are huge variations, so try lots and find what you love. If you are looking to run a 10k check out This, or if you want to try a half marathon click Here.

31. Kit Sponsorship 

It can be possible to pick up sponsors if you have reached a certain level with your running, or maybe you have created a following on social media; brands may choose to sponsor you with kits or products to help promote.

32. Financial sponsorship

If you reach the top end of the sport. Some athletes receive money much like a job in which they usually receive a salary from shoe sponsors. There will also be bonuses available based on their race results and times. For example, if they were to win a major marathon, it's likely there would be significant add-ons to the athlete's contract.

33. Post-race Cake

Often after races, particularly the smaller events (less than 1000 runners), they may have some treats available at the end. Runners usually love a sweet treat at the end of a tough race or training block and chat about what they have just accomplished.

34. Carb Loading

You may have already heard the term "carb loading," Generally this is done before a long-distance event, such as a half or a full marathon, and involves depleting carbs in the earlier part of the week to the event to then add them back into the diet a few days before. This increases absorption, but a diet full of carbs is often enjoyable too.

35. Low Cost 

While there may be some costs involved with purchasing some running shoes. Generally, the sport is really low cost due to just being able to go out and run. Some athletes even run barefoot. This is why running is genuinely considered a global sport, as there are no high fees preventing entry into the sport.

36. Discipline, Dedication, and Determination

By creating or running a program and following a regular training plan, you will become dedicated to it, which can also translate into other aspects of your life. Equally, going out and completing any run, particularly when you do not feel like it or the weather may not be perfect, requires determination.

37. Regulate Appetite and Food Cravings

Regular exercise can help with cravings for particular foods. Aerobic exercise can even help simply, by making you think more carefully, and perhaps pick better options to help fuel your run.

38. Results

One of the best things about completing a good race is seeing your name, time, and position in the results. It's something to be proud of. In the UK, the website power of 10 is great if you race regularly to check your best times for the years and those all-important personal bests.


39. Race Photos

Many of the larger events and often now many of the smaller ones tend to have a race photographer capturing you in action so you have a memory of the day. These tend to then be available after the race on their website. Park runs also tend to have a photographer snapping pics for you to enjoy after.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, running provides numerous excellent benefits, both physical and mental health benefits. It is an accessible form of exercise that can be done almost anywhere with minimal equipment required. Physically, running builds fitness and helps to maintain a healthy weight. Mentally, it helps to reduce stress levels, improve focus and boost self-confidence. Running also has social advantages as it can be done with friends or family, creating an opportunity for bonding and camaraderie. All in all, running is a highly beneficial form of exercise that everyone should consider incorporating into their routine.

FAQ

What will running do for your body?

Running is a great exercise that can positively impact your health. It can help to keep you healthy, and it can also help you to burn fat and stay in shape. Consistent running can also help you build strength, increase endurance, reduce stress, and even boost your mood. All of these benefits can positively impact your overall physical health and well-being. Running regularly can also help you to become more energetic, improve your sleep quality, and even reduce the risk of developing certain diseases. So if you want to get fit and stay healthy, running is an excellent exercise to incorporate into your routine.

Is a 15-minute run good?

The answer is a resounding yes! Not only can running for just 15 minutes each day improve your physical health, but it can also improve your mental health in numerous ways. Regular running can lead to better sleep, which is vital for physical and psychological health. Physical activity helps increase the production of mood-lifting hormones, which can improve your overall mood. You may even experience the runner's high.

Can you get a nice body from running?

Yes, you can get a nice body from running. Running is an excellent form of exercise that helps to tone and strengthen your muscles while also allowing you to burn calories and lose weight. It is also a great way to increase your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular health. You will also begin to feel better and more confident, which may lead you to other forms of exercise, such as strength training; combining running with strength training is an excellent way to look and feel great.

Should you join a running club as a beginner?

It's a great idea! Joining a running club can be incredibly beneficial, especially for non-runners. A running club will provide you with experienced running coaches who can help you get started on the right track and offer motivation and guidance. The club could also be a great source of camaraderie, as you can run with and get support from others who share your love for running. Various running clubs are available, so you're sure to find one that fits your needs. There's something for everyone, from competitive road runner clubs to more laid-back jogging groups. Make sure to research the different running clubs in your area and find one that fits your needs!








About the author 

James

James is an elite distance runner and has also raced triathlon for a number of years. He has a certification in swimming coaching, and a passion to help all athletes succeed in finding a balance within sport and life.