The answer to this question is different for every woman you ask. Some run to stay fit. Some run to look good. Some run for personal accomplishment.
A 2013 survey of 30,425 core runners nationwide (56.4% women and 43.6% men) provides some insight. Core runners train year-round, running an average of 208 days a year and logging nearly 1,165 miles per year. On average, core women runners are 40 years old, 60% are married and 77.8% are college educated.
The primary reasons women start running include exercise (23.1%), weight concerns (17.1%), or family/friend encouragement (7.6%). Women’s motivation to keep running centers on how it makes them feel, with staying in shape (79.0%) and staying healthy (78.4%) as the most commonly mentioned drivers. Equally important, however, over two-thirds of the women surveyed ran to reduce stress (76.8%). Men also ran to stay in shape (76.8%) and stay healthy (76.8%). But men saw running as recreation, with 60.9% of men saying they ran for fun.
For me, running is a way to step outside of myself and only think about completing the task at hand. It is something I control. It is something I decide to do. It removes me from the demands of work and family. I get to focus on strengthening my body and at the same time toughening my mind. The result is serenity and a sense of balance that is usually beyond my grasp.
Why I run extreme endurance events is another thing altogether…
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