Five Life Lessons Learned from Running
I love running plain and simple. I not only run for my physical health but for my mental (and spiritual) health as well. So, if you’re interested in the many physical benefits of running, a quick Google search will overwhelm you with information. Personally, I have found these to be only a fraction of the benefits I have experienced.
Running clears my mind and helps me focus unlike anything else I have tired. After years of running I’ve realized the lessons it has taught me that I have applied to my non-running life
(Although it may surprise some people, I actually DO have a non-running life!).
Five Life Lessons Learned from Running
- Running has helped me manage the bad days.
- Running has helped me understand how negative thoughts and fear can hold me back.
Battling crazy negative thoughts is the challenge that makes the difference between enjoying your run or quitting. Runners learn early on that they need to control their thoughts before their thoughts control them. When I learned to manage my chaotic thoughts on and off the road, my life became become more peaceful and happy.
- Running has helped me learn to set goals and develop a plan to achieve them.
Runners understand they need to implement a proven training process to achieve their race goals. Prior to running, my process for achieving any goal was much different. My methods comprised of setting an arbitrary goal and create a haphazard strategy to achieve it (on stickies!). This strategy had no defined goal, tracking, or accountability. When it failed, instead of blaming the method, I blamed my lack of motivation, follow through, and if I am to be 100% honest with you, my overall personal character. Trust me, having a plan is the best option!
- Running helped me realize that it’s safe to share with others.
Running friends are a mobile support group. I have instant encouragement and support when I am struggling with a run. My running family has helped me though the difficult parts of my running experience and this has helped me understand that it’s okay to open up about the messy parts of my life with good friends. It’s reassuring to know that we ALL have crazy times and its not just me. Whew, I am more normal than I thought!
- Running has taught me to be prepared for things when they are out of my control.
I live in Minnesota and understand that Mother Nature doesn’t care about the running goal I have been working towards. It may rain, sleet, snow or be 100 degrees on race day! I have learned to be flexible with my training and understand I only have control over my actions and my attitude. Applying this skill to other areas of my life has improved my overall attitude and my relationships. Because, after all, the only thing we really have control over in our lives are our actions and our attitude.
- BONUS: Running has helped me appreciate what my body can do instead of how I look.
As far back as I can remember I have struggled with body image issues. These concerns became less overwhelming after I began my running program. Slowly, as I began to run longer distances, my body image issues became less important than eating to fuel myself for a long run or finding shoes with good support! I am much less critical of how I look in the mirror and am able to focus on how good I feel. Let me tell you, THAT is an amazing relief!
Let’s face it life can be as hard. Like a long uphill run, these times in your life can feel overwhelming and you probably question your strength and ability to cope (I know I do). I apply my running philosophy to the difficult times and it has helped me get through them. I remind myself to keep moving forward and don’t give up! It is surprising how this simple mantra can help me run up a long (seemingly endless) hill or get though packing and moving homes. Some days are just bad and I have learned how to power through them and let them go.
Yes, running is my happy place. It has taught me life lessons and helped me create treasured memories along the way. I feel fortunate to have found this sport and grateful that you have allowed me to share what I have learned with you!
If you are looking to begin a running/walk (or any exercise) program, check out Running for Your Life. It is a running log and life coaching journal that will help you begin your journey to better health!