5 Ways to Celebrate Your Birthday Running

Some peo­ple await their birth­days with the same enthu­si­asm as they did when they were eight, while oth­ers do their best to ignore the loom­ing date, pray­ing that no one remem­bers or makes a big deal out of it.

Whichev­er camp you fall into, why not try some­thing dif­fer­ent this year and cel­e­brate your life by get­ting off the couch and hit­ting the ground? No, we’re not sug­gest­ing drink­ing so much you fall over in the street—we’re talk­ing about running.

Run?! On my birth­day?? you might think. Well that’s exact­ly what Dean Kar­nazes woke up and did on his 30th and now he’s an ultra marathon­er so impres­sive Wired mag­a­zine once called him “The Per­fect Human.”

Sign Up For Your First Race
Many peo­ple think about sign­ing up for a 5k to see what all the hype from run­ners is about, but con­tin­u­al­ly fail to fol­low through for one rea­son or anoth­er. Some are sim­ply intim­i­dat­ed. What bet­ter time than your birth­day to find the courage to step out­side your com­fort zone, have fun (the pos­i­tive, encour­ag­ing, and excit­ing envi­ron­ment for a local 5k will make you smile), and show your­self you can do it?

Host a Run­ning Par­ty
If you’re already an estab­lished run­ner, odds are you have at least a cou­ple run­ning friends. Invite all of your fel­low run­ners to meet you in your dri­ve­way or favorite run­ning loca­tion, join you on a birth­day group run, and then head out for a cel­e­bra­to­ry meal afterward.

Find a Trail
Most run­ners train on the roads, which are con­ve­nient and often viewed as safer. Trails, how­ev­er, offer a lit­tle some­thing spe­cial that pave­ment just can’t match. Whether you opt to enjoy the scenery solo or bring your best run­ning pal along, treat your­self to a trail run on your next birth­day. There’s just some­thing spe­cial about spend­ing time with Moth­er Nature that makes turn­ing anoth­er year old­er seem noth­ing less than an absolute gift (ahem, because it is), rather than dwelling on the neg­a­tives of aging. It real­ly is true what they say, “You’re only as old as you feel.”  Lit­tle else makes you feel as young as run­ning through trails and for­est hun­dreds of thou­sands of years old.

Share the Gift of Run­ning
Sign up to vol­un­teer at a race. If you’re not already a run­ner, be warned that the expe­ri­ence is high­ly like­ly to inspire you to want to try. Race atmos­pheres are absolute­ly mag­i­cal with the pal­pa­ble pos­i­tive ener­gy fly­ing through the air. If you’re already a run­ner, tak­ing your turn help­ing out from the side­lines will like­ly fill you with pride of your sport and grat­i­tude for the vol­un­teers in all your past and future races. In oth­er words, you can give your­self the gift of appre­ci­a­tion; some­thing that will get you far in the run­ning world – in all worlds, actually.

The Age Race
Run a mile for every year old you’re turn­ing. Hey, it worked for Kar­nazes! The run sparked some­thing inside of him, and he is now one of the most notable Amer­i­can ultra marathon­ers. You could be next. Or not; you may bare­ly sur­vive the crazy present to your­self, but either way, you’re expe­ri­ence a mem­o­rable birth­day adventure!

Your birth­day is a cel­e­bra­tion of you–give your­self the gift of health, and per­haps be sur­prised by how much fun you have spend­ing your big day on the run. Hap­py birthday!

by Audra Run­dle