A blog by runners. For runners.

Stop and take a picture on your run. It’ll last longer.

Why you should definitely take the photo on your runI love to take photos during my runs. Especially in the fall, running paths can be extremely beautiful – with the colorful leaves and the sunsets making for perfect Instagram-able scenes. But every time I stop to capture such a moment, I can’t help but notice other runners around me giving me the side-eye. “You can’t be a real runner,” I read in their glance. “Nobody who is serious about running would break up their workout to take pictures!”

This attitude is common among runners, and it makes sense. We typically learn how to run through run-walk programs, gradually decreasing the length of time spent walking until we can run continuously for the entirety of our workout.  The goal is to eliminate walk-breaks and run without interruptions. So it’s no surprise it’s ingrained in our minds that stopping a run is equivalent to giving up, or at least to having to start all over again.

But not only can it be beneficial (and certainly not detrimental) to take walking breaks during your runs, I also believe stopping to take photos while out running is a hugely beneficial activity, for a few reasons:

  1. Better memories. It goes without saying capturing a beautiful moment on camera can bring you enjoyment later on as you encounter it while flicking through your “Photos” folder. But because you will have made the effort to actually stop your run, it might actually make for a more complex and more enjoyable memory than if you simply took the photo out of your bedroom window. People tend to remember the beginnings and ends of things more than the middle – this is called the Serial Position Effect in psychology. When you break your running rhythm to take a photo, that moment becomes a whole new experience with its own beginning and end. This will help you to recall more about the context of the photo – what happened that day, what you were training for, who you were with – which makes for richer memories when you look at it later on, even years down the road.
  2. A more enjoyable run. Taking photos during your run can also boost your workout, because, much like running meditation, it serves to swiftly bring you back into the present moment. Runners can often get lost in thought, lulled by the repetitive rhythm of our steps into a bit of a daydream, but often the workout is more pleasant and more enjoyable when we are fully aware of our environment. After all, isn’t that why we choose to run outside rather than on the treadmill.
  3. Increased happiness. Stopping to appreciate a beautiful moment can actually contribute to overall happiness and well-being in your everyday life. The behavior of “savoring”, or making an effort to direct focused attention onto enjoying the present moment, can directly and immediately boost your happiness. Doing so on a regular basis is the secret weapon of some of the happiest people in the world. 

So from now on, don’t worry about breaking your flow or getting sidelong glances from other runners when you stop to savor the sunset. Go forth and Instagram, fellow runners!

Written by Varia Makagonova.