This question was posed to me last week as a comment to one of my posts:
"What advice do you have for non-runners who have become inspired by this blog, and would like to start running and living a healthier life?"
Great question. Rather than turn out 10,000 over-enthusiastic words here in a Susan Powter-like response, I'll boil things down to how I feel running fits into my life.
We all have interests/hobbies/passions that for one reason or another we enjoy taking part in way more than our lame day jobs. For those of you who actually "do" what you love for a living, well, congrats to you...after you spend every dream-like day happily making a successful living for yourself, just remember: No one likes you. For the rest of us, we need a passion in our lives that gives us something to look forward to beyond spending the 9-to-5 hours between three cubicle walls.
Since finishing up my chemo treatments, my personal goals have involved lots and lots of running. Some people are great artists or musicians or writers, and if I had their talents I'd much rather sit inside on rainy/snowy days and work toward goals in those fields. Sadly for me, "running a long long way" is all I'm good at, so that's what I have to work at to feel like I'm accomplishing worthwhile goals.
Running presents me with short-term and long-term goals that I enjoy working at to achieve. I don't always enjoy being out on the roads training every day, but I know those runs are necessary boxes to check in the big picture of training for my weekly long-runs and my super-long races. The enjoyment I get out of achieving my running goals is just the same as a writer would get out of finishing a chapter/novel. Every day isn't necessarily a blast, but when you start reaching bench-mark goals and feeling good about yourself, that's when you know you've found a way to way to improve your lifestyle.
So, to answer the question at the top of the page here, if you're interested in running, strap on some shoes and go run. If it you like it, run some more. You don't need to go crazy with the mileage - I can still recall the satisfy feeling of finishing my first 10 mile run (man, that felt great!). On the flip-side, if after a week or two you lose interest, then find something else to work at. Happiness is a huge part of a "healthy" lifestyle. Sure, regular exercise helps keep people fit, but running isn't for everyone. If you play guitar, spend some time working on a new song to keep yourself happy and relieve some stress. If you want to work some exercise into your day, go for a walk after. What ever you do, just don't force yourself to shuffle through painful miles of running every day if you don't like it. You spend enough time every day at work doing stuff you don't like. Enjoy your free time, set goals to achieve in fields you love - that's a big step toward living a happier, healthier lifestyle.
....besides, who ever said running 100 miles was healthy? It sounds kind of crazy if you ask me.