How Exercise Helps Us

Oct 26, 2022

This article was written by Emma Spencer, a marathoner for the Raleigh Distance Project. The  Raleigh Distance Project creates opportunities for aspiring elite distance runners to reach their goals and use the transformative sport of running as a means of community-building for all people.

As a team of competitive endurance runners, we train most days of the week, whether it’s running, lifting, or cross-training.

While we’ve all had different journeys with athletic competition and fitness, there are some common themes as to why we commit to training week after week and year after year!

Builds Confidence

Running our goal time during a workout, holding a plank for longer than the week before, and adding weight to our deadlifts all help us see incremental progress toward our goals and keep us motivated and excited.

When you run just a few races a season, it’s encouraging to see weekly progress within training. This helps us trust the process and feel confident that we’ll be prepared on race day.

Creates Good Habits

Having a routine and committing to our sport has a cascading effect on other parts of our lives. To have a good early morning workout, we need to go to bed early and eat a good dinner. If we’re going to lift weights after a long workday, we need to stay hydrated and fueled - can’t skip lunch!

Even walking the dog can be a good way to get some light movement and stretch the legs on a recovery day.

Builds Community & Promotes Mindfulness

People sometimes ask what we think about while we’re out on a long run.

On group runs, we share about our lives, going over what went well and what frustrated us that week. Knowing we have people to meet us early in the morning on a weekend also helps us stay committed and consistent with our goals.

Some days we end up running alone - and solo runs are a good time to focus on our thoughts and build mental resilience. Without our phones and computer screens, we can check in on ourselves and take a break from our busy schedules.


Reflecting on the bigger picture of how fitness positively impacts your life - finding your “why” - is a great way to stay motivated and stick to your habits.

Comment below and tell us what’s your “why”?

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