The benefits of running are uncountable, we’ve heard and read them all, but as far as I am concerned they are threefold:
- Personal development
- Discovering places
- Meeting people
I don’t know about you, but for me running had always been something you do only if you’re being chased. And then I moved to Sweden. And everyone was running. Running before work, running after work, running during lunch break. So I decided to give it another chance. And I got hooked.
I am living proof that anyone can do it. At 15 I hid in the changing room to avoid gym class and 15 years later I ran the world’s longest half marathon (but that’s another story).
Like a lot of people I have a love/hate relationship with running. It is not just hard on your body; it is hard on your mind. It is always going to be the first to want to give up, often before you even started it will run lists of reasons why you should not go (too cold, too dark, too tired, too busy…) Running teaches you to take control over those negative thoughts and turns them into positive ones, using them to fuel your body.
It is an outlet, a way to prove yourself you can do things you never thought you could. After a run you feel powerful and this feeling spreads into other aspects of your life.
Someone once wrote, “ Runners just do it. They run for the finish line even if someone else has reached it first”. That’s the spirit. I just love the feeling of winning, not over sweaty strangers, but over myself.
Running is also an excellent way to get acquainted with your neighborhood and discover the city. How many times did I run past a building, a park or even a restaurant and thought I needed to look it up once at home.
Stockholm is such a wonderful place to run. It does not matter where you live, it usually takes you about 5 minutes to reach a beautiful and quiet place where nature has taken over. You can choose to run by the water, in the forest or even downtown, there are many options out there for you whether you are a first time runner or a several time marathon finisher.
Here is a list of places we personally like at Your Living City, but Stockholm surely offers many more.
- Hellasgården, a beautiful recreational area just 20 minutes away. There you can of course run but also take beautiful walks in nature, swim, bike, play mini golf, have a fika and enjoy a well deserved sauna break…before jumping into the cold lake maybe? Just take the bus 401 from Slussen towards Älta.
- Around Södermalm, a wonderful way to run about 10k while running by the water and discovering the south island. Start by Slussen and go down to Söder Mälarstrand all the way down to Hornstull, reach Tantolunden park and maybe take a break in the outdoor gym for a little workout, continue on the walking path along the water until you reach Hammarby slussväg, pass Eriksdalsbadet, continue all the way onto Norra Hammarbyhamnen, pass the Spårvägsmuseum and reach the other side of the island, waving to the boats leaving towards Finland as you make your way to Fotografiska, and back to Slussen!
- Djurgården is a paradise for runners, an oasis in the city. You can decide to do a full tour of the island for a good 12 km or cut it short by taking a turn or a bridge earlier on. If you need fuel, you can stop by one of the little cafés by the water, and even pop in for a cultural break at one of the many museums on the island.
- Kungsholmen also offers a nice 10k loop. I haven’t tried it personally, but the people at Run With Me Stockholm give you tips to navigate your way around the island.
- Skogskyrkogården. Yes, the world heritage cemetery. It might sound weird, but it is actually a wonderful place to run. It is extremely peaceful with a lot of little paths around the beautifully kept tombstones.
Other great places to run recommended by our friends from Ssidelinecity are:
However, we need to keep in mind this is Sweden. It get’s cold and dark. Which does not mean we have to stop running. It just means we have to adjust. Godwyll from Löplabbet talks us through some basics such as:
- Safety: respecting traffic lights, or listening to music at a level that allows you to stay aware of your surrounding
- Wearing the right clothes: the key word is layers, people!
- Picking the right shoes. This might sound like common sense, but many people (I was one of them) start running in shoes that are not at all adapted and end up injured without even knowing why. Do not be shy and ask a professional, it will make all the difference and not only will your knees thank you, you will also perform better!
- Know where you‘re going, it makes the run much smoother! So take a few minutes before you leave to actually check out a road.
Running is an individual sport but not a lonely sport. The running community is amazing, open minded and encouraging and that is exactly what you need because finding the motivation to put on those running shoes and get out there is the first and most difficult step!
So here is what we recommend:
- Make new friends, become part of something bigger and reach goals you did not know you had. There are tons of running communities out there, find the one that is right for you. We had the opportunity to spend some time with Amanda and Kristian from Ssidelinecity and they made us want to run with them to the moon and back! You can also check out Run With Me Stockholm or Nike’s run club.
- Challenge yourself! Find your next challenge on My Next Run!
One more thing, if you’re not the chatty type it does not mean that you have to run in silence. Some people like it, but some can’t stand the silence – so for those, we made a killer playlist!
ENTER OUR COMPETITION !
If you are still hesitating, here comes the final push off your couch, Löplabbet is offering a 1500 SEK gift card to one of our lucky readers!
All you need to do is:
Take and share an original picture that represents “your running”.
Tag @yourlivingcity on Instagram or @Your Living City, Stockholm on Facebook. Remember to have the picture public so that we can see it.
Use the hashtags: #YLCmyrun and #Löplabbet
- Include the location of any Löplabbet store in your post.
The winner will be chosen by representatives of Your Living City and Löplabbet considering the creativity and originality of the photograph.The competition will be running from 17th October to 7th November 2016.The winner will be announced on 8th of November 2016 on both Your Living City’s Instagram account and Facebook page.The participant gives Your Living City permission to share the photograph that they have entered into the competition on Your Living City’s website, Instagram account, Twitter account and Facebook page.The winner will receive a a gift card to use at any Löplabbet store. The gift card is not redeemable for cash.This competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Text: Morgane Oléron
Photos & Video: Karen Pérez Guzmán
Playlist: Nina Uddin