Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Running Rewards

There are a lot of ways running is rewarding: it's great for your health (running can boost your immune system, increase lung capacity, strengthen your heart, and lower your risk of stroke or blood clots); it's an excellent stress reliever; and studies show that running can improve your mood. Now, these are all great things, but sometimes, after a run you want a tangible reward.

My weekend reward.
Two times a week, on my long run day and my midweek medium long day, I reward myself post-run with food. It's nothing big--during the week it's a homemade muffin from the cafeteria at work (and even then, I go for the healthiest option, low-fat bran with flax seeds) and on weekends it's either an everything bagel and low-fat scallion cream cheese or some other kind of baked good depending on where my run has taken me. Do I need these rewards to run? No, but they definitely help make the miles a little easier.

At this point, to some extent, I can say that running is usually it's own reward, but for new runners that may not be the case. If allowing yourself some kind of treat motivates you to get out the door, then I say go for it. The trick is to make sure that whatever your reward is doesn't outweigh the benefits of the run. If your reward is food, keep it sensible. If you're more motivated by things like new clothes or a night of debauchery (I've been known to enjoy the occasional 4:30am bender myself), try tying them to a mileage goal or something similarly long term instead of individual workouts.

Alright, it's time for me to go eat my reward.

 (Since this is a running blog, I'm going to try posting my actual runs on here from now on)
Today's Run:15.2 miles at 7:40 pace.


  1. See, I reward with foods that are too bad for me! Need to reign in it a bit.

    Also, stop being so darn fast! It hurts me to think of running that fast.

  2. After races, I allow myself way more leeway. Post-Chicago I ate an entire deep dish pizza.

  3. Um, that's a pretty sweet midweek medium long run!!!! I always drink choc milk after hard efforts and I always look forward to it. A few beers after a really long run (20 or so) is great too!