Bright shoes, an eager pup and five more reasons why I get moving every day.

Chilly autumn air, leaves drifting to the ground, and a slight breeze against my skin is my definition of pure bliss (while I’m running). To put it simply, I love to run.

There are different types of runners in this world: those who run for exercise, those who run to race, those who run for therapy, and those who don’t run at all. As a daughter of a professional tennis player-turned marathon runner-turned world-class cyclist, you would think that I would be a “natural” athlete who doesn’t have to work to be good at something, but that really isn’t the case. In fact, I was actually never that good at sports. Instead of going the traditional sports route, I became obsessed with tutus and pointe shoes instead.

While ballet, modern and jazz dance are incredibly physical, dance offers an entirely different form of cardio than running, which I didn’t realize until I began to explore different forms of exercise. I’ll never forget my first attempt at three miles: It was a race. I was nine. My lips turned white. I finished. Needless to say, it was the hardest experience of my life. So how in the world did a ballet dancer turn into an avid runner?

It didn’t happen overnight (that’s for sure), but with a little hard work, determination, and motivation, I started to enjoy it. After completing 1-mile runs all the way up to 13.1-mile runs, it still takes effort, but the five reasons listed below are what keep me hitting the pavement time and time again.

1. I do my best thinking on my feet. Whether it’s a work idea, some sort of self-realization, or solving the world, this time is the best time for me to get creative and think deeper.

2. It’s like a therapy session. While I do a lot of thinking, I also clear a lot of junk out of my brain. If I run in the morning, I clear out my anxieties, or in the evening, I work out the day’s frustrations. This time for me is so important. I clear my brain, while getting a great workout in.

3. It keeps my weight in check. While I do other forms of exercise as well, such a cross-training and yoga, running is a great way to consistently keep my weight at a healthy place

4. It gives me energy. Other than distance running outside, I LOVE to do variations of sprint-interval training on the treadmill such as running 2 miles of 1-minute sprints followed by a 2-minute jog. Though it sounds draining, which it is, this workout actually gives me a great amount of energy when I’m done that either perks me up after a long day at work or gives me the boost I need to take on the day in the mornings.

5. I get a runner’s high. If you’ve never experienced one, you probably think all of the runners out there who talk about this are crazy. I used to think so, too. Boy, was I wrong! This is real and amazing. Sometimes after a great run, I have this huge amount of joy that takes over me or gives me this insane amount of energy that’s about to burst out. It’s kind of amazing. I honestly think running makes me a much more enjoyable person to be around, but that’s just me.

If I haven’t convinced you to start running yet and you still think it will never be “your thing,” I highly suggest you quit doubting yourself and give it a try. You might just trick yourself into actually loving the one thing you used to hate.

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