Running is an activity that many people enjoy regularly. Some run to stay fit and healthy, while others do it for stress relief or as a social activity.
But can running be considered a hobby?
Let’s explore some of the key aspects of hobbies and see if running fits the description.
What Defines a Hobby?
A hobby is generally defined as an activity or interest that someone pursues for pleasure and relaxation during their free time. Hobbies are not done out of necessity or for financial gain. Instead, they are voluntary activities that people engage in purely for fun and enjoyment.
Some key qualities of hobbies include:
- Provides a creative outlet or emotional release
- Challenges abilities without high stakes
- Fosters learning and growth
- Structured by rules or goals
- Performed regularly during free time
- Brings connection to others
- Produces personal satisfaction
When looked at in this light, running seems to align quite well with the definition of a hobby.
Running as a Creative Outlet and Emotional Release
One of the main appeals of running for many people is that it provides a great creative outlet and emotional release. The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other can clear your mind, help you generate new ideas, and relieve stress.
Running allows you to set your own pace and distance. You can zone out or challenge yourself mentally. The mood-boosting endorphins released while running act as a natural anti-depressant. This makes running an incredibly cathartic hobby.
Running Provides Personal Challenges
Running presents the opportunity to regularly challenge yourself and test your abilities without high stakes. You can aim to improve your time or distance over a set route. Or you can enter a local 5K or marathon and train to meet a new goal.
Racing against yourself allows you to foster a sense of competition and achievement. But because running is non-contact and low risk, you won’t face major consequences for poor performance. This balance makes running an appealing hobby for goal-oriented people.
Running Promotes Learning and Growth
One of the great things about running is that there is always more you can learn about the sport. You can study different training methodologies and running techniques. Learning how your body optimally functions and how to prevent injury will also keep your mind engaged.
In addition, finding new routes and trails to explore satisfies the sense of adventure innate to many runners. Pushing your abilities fosters personal growth. As your endurance and speed improve, it creates a sense of accomplishment.
Running Has Structure and Goals
Running is an easy hobby to become involved in because it can be performed almost anywhere with minimal gear. But there are still goals and structures you can create around running.
You might choose to run a certain number of days per week or set weekly mileage goals. Or you can follow a specific training plan to build up to running a half marathon or marathon. Having measurable goals and a structured training schedule gives running purpose beyond just general fitness.
Running is Performed Regularly During Free Time
To consider running a hobby, it should be something you do consistently during your discretionary hours for enjoyment. Running just occasionally or only doing it grudgingly as a workout would not qualify.
But for those who eagerly look forward to lacing up their shoes 3-4 times a week, running occupies a position as a hobby. It becomes a regular leisure activity done solely by personal choice.
Running Connects You with a Community
Running with a group or participating in races creates camaraderie with fellow runners. Having training partners and people to share tips with adds a social element to running.
Many hobbyists enjoy having a community of people who share their interests. Running allows you to meet new people and make friends while doing an activity you love. The social bonds formed through running help cement it as a rewarding hobby.
Running Gives a Sense of Accomplishment
Running can provide an amazing sense of personal satisfaction and achievement. Pushing yourself to go a little farther or faster with each run allows you to see quantifiable progress. Completing a first 5K or marathon gives an unparalleled feeling of accomplishment.
Running offers clear fitness benefits like improved endurance, strength, and heart health. But it also does wonders for self-confidence. Setting and achieving running goals reminds you of your grit and abilities. This instills powerful satisfaction that comes from within.
Key Benefits of Running as a Hobby
Based on running’s fulfillment as a creative outlet, a way to challenge yourself, promote learning, provide structure and goals, bond with others, and foster a sense of achievement during free time, it seems to fully embody the definition of a hobby.
Some more specific benefits that come from taking up recreational running include:
- Improved cardiovascular and muscular fitness
- Weight loss and maintenance
- Increased endurance and stamina
- Stress relief and mood enhancement
- Lower risk for disease and health conditions
- Increased bone density
- Boosted confidence and self-esteem
- Sense of empowerment and freedom
- Exploration of new places and trails
- Camaraderie with other runners
- Mental clarity and focus
- Achievement of personal goals
- Inner satisfaction and pride
Looking at all of these diverse benefits, it is easy to see why running is much more than just physical exercise for those who do it consistently. It fulfills all the key elements that classify an activity as a legitimate hobby.
Getting Started with Running
If learning about the many benefits of running as a hobby has made you eager to start, you just need to begin taking those first running steps. Here are some tips for getting started:
Start slow and short – Especially if you are new to running, don’t feel like you need to go fast or far. Try alternating between walking and short jogs. Even 10-15 minutes is great when you’re beginning.
Focus on form – Look up tips online for the ideal running form. Elements like posture, arm carriage, foot strike, and cadence can make a big impact on comfort and efficiency.
Get fitted for shoes – Visit a specialty running store and get properly fitted for running-specific shoes. The right footwear makes all the difference in avoiding injury. Replace shoes every 300-500 miles.
Pick scenic routes – Running outdoors is ideal. Choose routes with parks, trails, or waterfront views to make your runs more enjoyable. Mixing up your scenery will also prevent boredom.
Listen to music/podcasts – Making a motivating playlist can make the miles pass by quickly. Audiobooks and podcasts are also great for entertainment during longer runs.
Join a running group – Local running clubs and meetup groups make running more fun and motivating. You can find groups that match your pace and schedule.
Sign up for a race – Having a goal event like a 5K or 10K gives your training purpose.
As your fitness improves, you can increase your distance and speed. But it’s fine to ease into running at a comfortable pace and mileage. Consistency is key. Soon enough, you’ll be hooked on this fulfilling hobby!
Improving Your Running Skills
Once you’ve caught the running bug, you’ll inevitably want to improve your speed, endurance, and efficiency. Here are some methods for taking your running abilities to the next level:
Increase weekly mileage – Gradually add total weekly mileage by no more than 10% each week to avoid injury. More miles at an easy pace builds an endurance base.
Add speed work – Tempo runs, intervals, hill repeats and fartleks introduce faster paces into your running. They build strength and teach your body to be more economical.
Do strength training – Strong glutes, hips, and core improve running posture and efficiency. Squats, lunges, and planks should be part of every runner’s workout routine.
Perfect form – Film yourself running or have a coach analyze your gait. Tweaking elements like foot strike, turnover rate, arm swing, and hip alignment prevents wasted motion.
Pay attention to diet – A balanced, nutrient-rich diet with complex carbs and lean protein gives you the energy and muscle recovery needed for running progression.
Allow for rest – Rest and recovery days are as important as workout days. They give your muscles time to adapt and get stronger. Don’t increase the training load too quickly.
Get plenty of sleep – Sleep is crucial for runners since that is when tissue repair and muscle growth occur. Most adults need 7-9 hours per night for optimal recovery.
Race often – Sign up for local 5Ks or 10Ks throughout your training cycle. Shorter races help you benchmark fitness gains and get comfortable with racing before your goal event.
With smart training, patience, and consistency, you will be amazed at how your running improves over time. But remember that staying injury-free is the most critical component.
The Different Types of Running
One great thing about running is that it offers so much variety within the sport. There are numerous different types of running you can try to challenge yourself in new ways and prevent boredom. Here are some of the most popular types:
Road Running – Running on paved surfaces like roads, sidewalks, and tracks. Great for working on speed and doing regular training miles.
Trail Running – Running on natural, unpaved surfaces like hiking trails and forest paths. Varied terrain builds strength.
Track Running – Running on a standard 400m oval track. Allows for precise speedwork and pacing.
Treadmill Running – Running on a motorized treadmill typically inside a gym. Useful for maintaining mileage in poor weather conditions.
Marathon Running – Running any road race distance from a half marathon (13.1 miles) up to the full marathon distance (26.2 miles). Tests endurance limits.
Ultramarathon Running – Running races longer than the 26.2-mile marathon distance, including 50Ks, 50-milers and 100-milers. The ultimate endurance test.
Cross Country Running – Traditional cross country races with distances from 5K up to 8K done on grass, trails, or woods. Introduces varied terrain.
Fartlek Running – Speedplay runs with alternating fast segments and recovery periods done on roads, trails, or tracks. Improves speed and endurance.
Hill Running – Running routes specifically aimed at challenging hills and inclines. Builds strength and mental toughness for pushing through fatigue.
Trying new types of running keeps the sport exhilarating. It allows you to experience beautiful natural settings and test yourself in new ways. Variety is key for ongoing enjoyment.
Popular Running Events for All Levels
Another great way to diversify your running is by taking part in some of the unique running events across the country. Races provide built-in goals to motivate your training. Here are some of the most popular running events:
5Ks – Typically 3.1-mile races that are perfect for new runners looking to challenge themselves. Huge events like the Color Run series also use the 5K distance for mass participation.
10Ks – 6.2-mile events that step up distance slightly from a 5K for those looking for a new challenge. Still short enough for beginners.
Half marathons – 13.1-mile events that are manageable for those who have built up endurance through shorter racing. Provide a taste of the marathon.
Marathons – The classic 26.2-mile distance and pinnacle running achievement. Requires a solid 4-6 month training cycle for most runners to prepare.
Ultras – Any event longer than 26.2 miles including 50Ks, 50-milers, and 100-milers. The ultimate test of mental and physical endurance for advanced runners.
Relays – Team events like Hood to Coast where each member covers a segment of total distance. Adds fun team camaraderie to running.
Virtual races – Races you complete on your schedule on a designated course. Provides flexibility and allows participation from anywhere.
The variety of distances, formats, and locations gives you many options as you progress as a runner. Experiencing different events continues to make running exciting.
How to Stay Motivated to Run
Running consistently to improve requires determination and commitment. Here are some tips for staying motivated to get out there for miles when you don’t feel like it:
- Have measurable goals – Sign up for a race to give your training purpose or set weekly/monthly mileage and workout targets. Gives you something specific to focus energy toward.
- Find accountability – Arrange to meet friends for runs or do regular runs with a local club. Harder to skip when others are counting on you.
- Track progress – Use a training log or app to record mileage and times. Visually seeing ongoing improvements will motivate you.
- Collect gear/medals – Having cool running clothes, shoes, and race swag provides visible reminders of your passion.
- Apps & devices – Technology like GPS watches gives real-time feedback. Features like virtual training partners make running games out of solo miles.
- Music & podcasts – Cue up energizing playlists or worthy podcasts specifically saved for workout listening time. Makes miles fly by.
- Cross-train – Substitute in cross-training like cycling, swimming, and yoga when you need a mental break or are injured. Maintains fitness.
- Social media – Connecting with other runners on sites like Strava and Instagram provides community and inspiration.
- Remember passion – Revisit what made you fall in love with running in the first place whenever your motivation lags. Tap back into that joy.
Running takes dedication, but a sense of purpose will get you out the door. Having varied goals and tools keeps you engaged through rough patches.
Finding a Good Running Partner
Running with a partner can make your runs more fun and provide accountability on days when your motivation is low. If you’re looking for a running buddy, here are some tips:
- Set Similar Goals – Look for someone training for a similar event or who has comparable fitness levels. This ensures you’ll be able to run together comfortably.
- Find Common Schedules – Arrange set days/times each week to run together for consistency. Understand work or family may sometimes conflict.
- Join a Running Group – Local clubs are full of people who want partners. Go to group runs to meet like-minded runners.
- Talk Goals and Expectations – Are you wanting to push each other’s pace or just run at an easy conversational effort together? Discuss upfront.
- Start Slowly – Run together a few times before committing to a regular schedule. Make sure you gel personally and as running partners.
- Discuss Pace Tolerance – Determine how much either of you is willing to adjust the pace for the other. Some flexibility helps when one has an off day.
- Communicate Openly – Be honest about your goals, schedule needs, and any conflicts that arise. Don’t be afraid to occasionally run separately.
- Bring Complementary Skills – One may be better with training plans or motivation while the other provides gear advice and nutrition guidance.
Finding just the right running partner provides camaraderie, safety, and accountability, and can ultimately help both improve performance. Take time to find someone truly compatible.
Determining an Ideal Running Mileage
There is no single ideal running mileage that is right for every runner. The appropriate amount will depend on your experience level, goals, and how much time you can dedicate. Here are some factors to help determine your ideal weekly distance:
- Current Fitness Level – New runners may need months to safely build up to 15-20 miles per week. Faster runners can more quickly progress to 50 miles. Build gradually.
- Training Goals – Preparing for a 5K requires less mileage than marathon training, which may peak over 40 miles per week. Match mileage to the event.
- Injury History – Runners prone to certain injuries may need to cap mileage and increase cross-training. Prioritize consistency over high volume.
- Age and Life Situation – Older runners and those with greater family/work demands often thrive on less mileage than 20-somethings without major obligations.
- Time Available – Fitting in 60-70 mile weeks requires greater training time commitment. Have realistic expectations around work/family schedules.
- Personal Preference – Some thrive on the structure of high-mileage training while others prefer more flexibility with moderate mileage. There’s no right or wrong.
- Rest and Recovery – Ensure adequate easy days and complete rest days, especially when increasing mileage for the first time. Prevents burnout and injury.
The best gauge is your running enjoyment and energy level. Optimal mileage fosters fitness while avoiding exhaustion and constant soreness. Increase conservatively and adjust as needed.
See Also: Is Working Out a Hobby? Here’s Why
Determining Optimal Running Times
The best time of day to run varies based on personal preference, schedule constraints, and performance goals. Here are some factors to help determine your ideal running times:
Energy Levels – Are you a morning person or a night owl? Scheduling runs when you feel most alert and energetic can provide the highest quality sessions.
Priorities – If family and work obligations take precedence, carve out small pockets for running instead of hour-plus sessions. Split runs can fit more easily into busy schedules.
Safety – For those running before or after work, visibility and traffic are considerations. Run in well-lit areas and make yourself visible.
Weather – In extreme climates, temperatures may dictate optimal running hours. Get outside early when it’s hot and choose midday when frigid to avoid dangerous conditions.
Fuelling – Some run best first thing in the morning before eating. Others need a small pre-run snack. Hydrate properly based on run intensity and climate conditions.
Speedwork – For quality speed sessions, some report faster times and quicker recovery with afternoon or evening training when muscle temperature is higher.
Digestion – Allow 2-3 hours after meals before faster running to prevent cramps. For easy runs, fueling closer to sessions may provide an energy boost.
Workouts vs. Races – Long runs and workouts may have different ideal times. Experiment to see if certain sessions seem more productive at distinct times.
Sleep Cycles – Finish intense running at least 2-3 hours pre-bedtime as hormones like cortisol can interfere with sleep cycles when elevated.
Your optimal schedule depends on your unique physiology and life responsibilities. Remain flexible and make adjustments if you notice better performance at certain times.
Preventing Common Running Injuries
Running delivers fantastic benefits but also carries an inherent injury risk if training is too aggressive. Being mindful and proactive helps ward off common running ailments like:
- Runner’s Knee – Pain around or behind the kneecap caused by poor tracking of the kneecap. Strengthen hips and quads.
- Shin Splints – Inflammation of connective tissues around shin bones creates pain along the shins. Rest, massage, and compression sleeves help.
- Achilles Tendinitis – Swelling and irritation of the Achilles tendon from overuse. Ice, massage, and eccentric heel drop aid recovery.
- IT Band Syndrome – Lateral knee or hip pain stemming from tight IT bands. Foam roll, stretch hips, and strengthen glutes.
- Plantar Fasciitis – Heel and arch pain from strained, inflamed plantar fascia tissue. Wear supportive shoes and loosen calf muscles.
- Stress Fractures – Tiny cracks in weight-bearing bones from rapid training increases. Requires significant rest to heal properly.
Tips to avoid injury:
- Increase weekly mileage by no more than 10% at a time
- Replace running shoes every 300-500 miles
- Strength training to support muscles and joints
- Stretch post-run focusing on hips, calves, and hamstrings
- Take regular rest days and easy weeks
- Listen to warning signs like pain that worsens
- Get properly fitted for running shoes
- Run on softer surfaces like trails/tracks occasionally
Patience and prevention keep you running consistently. Don’t let the fear of injury keep you from reaping running’s immense benefits. Just be smart with training loads and self-care.
When you consider running’s ability to provide a regular creative outlet, self-challenge, sense of adventure, and community, all while delivering a feeling of empowerment, pride, and inner satisfaction, it seems obvious that running easily qualifies as a legitimate hobby rather than just an exercise routine.
The physical and mental benefits of running also go far beyond general fitness. It becomes a key part of an enthusiastic runner’s lifestyle.
Running holds so much possibility. You can explore local trails or run races anywhere in the world. You can join running groups to find friendship or train solo to enjoy quiet introspection. There are always new distances to conquer, speeds to attain, and lessons to learn.
If you feel a sense of joy and fulfillment from your regular runs, then absolutely embrace running as your special hobby. Let your passion for running infuse the rest of your life with energy and vitality. The only requirement is that you keep those shoes laced up!
FAQs about Is running a hobby?
Is running a hobby or sport?
Running can be both a hobby and a sport, depending on the individual’s perspective and level of involvement. For casual runners, it may be considered a hobby, while for competitive runners, it’s a sport.
Is jogging a kind of hobby?
Yes, jogging can be considered a form of running as a hobby, especially for those who do it recreationally or for fitness.
Why do people run as a hobby?
People run as a hobby for various reasons, such as to improve their physical health, relieve stress, enjoy the outdoors, or challenge themselves.
When did people start running as a hobby?
Running as a hobby has a long history, dating back to ancient civilizations such as Greece and Rome, where it was considered a form of recreation and physical fitness. In modern times, running as a hobby gained popularity in the late 20th century with the rise of recreational running and the jogging craze.
What is running called as a sport?
Running can be referred to as a sport in various forms, such as track and field, cross-country, road racing, and trail running. Competitive running events are organized and governed by international organizations such as World Athletics.
Is running a cheap hobby?
Running can be a relatively cheap hobby compared to others, as it requires minimal equipment – essentially just running shoes and comfortable clothing. However, some runners may choose to invest in additional gear such as fitness trackers, specialized clothing, and running accessories.