All I really need to know I learned from Running

Do you have a ‘thing’ that you know you can do, that has always been there and will be there for you when you are stressed, when life turns upside down or just that thing that makes you feel better about yourself and life in general?

I do.

I run.

I’ve been running since I was 12 years old.  35 YEARS of moving my legs, feeling the crisp air, the wind, the sun, the rain, all the elements on my face, all alone.  (I used to have my trusty dog Innoko but he went to the great Rainbow Bridge).  Anyways, I digress, running is what I do when I need to figure shit out and it calms me.  In a way, you can say that it is my therapy.  I run for mental health.  It gives me a sense of self-confidence that I am grateful for.  It makes me happy and I am a better person for it.

I love it.

It’s what gives me life.  

Here are the life lessons that I learned from running: 

Don’t stop.  

Even when it gets tough.  The expression, “You can do HARD THINGS” is something I tell myself when I get tired when I’m on my long runs.  

Goals take time

If you are training for a marathon or running a business, all this takes time and you have to put in the work.  Training for anything takes time and conditioning.  That’s why you set the goal and when you push past that, you win. 

Comparison kills the vibe.

The only person you have to compare yourself to is YOU.  What good comes of comparing yourself to another person?  You can strive to reach that other person’s level and then what?  Set your own goals, run that race to break your old time.  That way you are leveling up yourself and no one else.  You do you. 

Perfection doesn’t exist. 

No one is perfect and that’s the truth.  I used to think that perfection meant a perfect size 6 body but the truth was that I was so unhappy.  I let others dictate what I thought was seemingly perfect.  I was far from it.  When I run, I feel happy, imperfections, and all.  That is as close to ‘perfect’ as I’ll get and I’m ok with it.  

It’s all mental.  

It’s all in your head….for real.  Its a mind game.  They say that running is 80% mental and 20% physical and it’s so true.  It teaches you that your mind is your best tool. Once you get in the right frame of mind, you can get through those times when you feel like your legs can’t carry you one more step.  When this happens, I go into this “PUSH” mindset of, “This is for all my sisters.  This is for the ones that have never started, the ones who never got a chance, the little girls who don’t know that they can…”  Its what reminds me and keeps me going. 

YOU are strong.

You are so much stronger than you think.  When I run I feel the power of my legs, my arms and it gives my spirit life.  When you push yourself beyond those limitations you find out what you are made of and you break those barriers.  Know that you are strong and you can push through. 

Make the time.

Life can get chaotic, I get it.  I have a family, kids, and work.  But I make the time for a run because it means I’m making the time for ME.  If you want it bad enough you will find the time and you’ll be so glad afterwards.   

There are no easy outs.

There are no short cuts, no fast-tracks in running or in life for that matter.  You just have to go through it.  You have to go a little bit more each time, push your own boundaries, and see what you are made of.  But you have to put in the work every day. Trust me, it will pay off.  

Clarity 

I get the best ideas when I’m running. Some people get ideas when they are in the shower or biking, I get mine on my runs.  I figure out shit and I’m more clear on what I need to do and what ideas make sense for me.  Running gives me clarity. 

You can do hard things. 

Hard things are what grant us grace and give us perseverance.  Life can be hard.  Running teaches me that I most definitely can do hard things.  Whether it be moving to another country, raising a family, or asking for that raise, you’ve got this.  Hard things are risks, we all take them and we can certainly all overcome them.   

Strength Training

Who knew that strength training would help me become a better and stronger runner?  Truth be told, I hated anything with weights, or strength training.  But after I went to the gym and started seeing my body change, I became stronger and fitter.  I am now a believer.  I strongly encourage adding strength training to any running workout routine.  You will not only feel stronger but feel better about yourself.  I am so happy I gave this a try and stuck to it. 

Starting is half the battle

When I get ready for a run, I plan everything down to getting my clothes & shoes ready, my earbuds, my fanny pack (yes I wear it and I love it), and my water bottle.  I get ready fast and go because I want to start running and get over warming up and get into the rhythm of my pace.  Whether you are just starting out running or a long-time runner and need to get everything ready beforehand, know that the ‘starting’ is the mental shit that can make or break your run. 

Running Shoes.

Having the right pair of running shoes is like having the right partner in life.  You have to know if the fit will work, will it carry you through for those long runs, is it durable, how does it make you feel? Once you know what will work for your feet, they will thank you and carry you through.  

Yoga

I used to hate yoga for its slow progressive nature but alas, I’ve come to love it for keeping my body fluid and strong.  I usually do yoga for my post workouts as it helps me stay flexible and prevents injury. It also just cools down my body in a calm and restful way. It’s true what they say, yoga is a great way to calm the senses.

Listen to your Body

Like anything in life, if you push too hard, you crash.  Running is no different.  When you run, you feel everything.  If something doesn’t feel right, either physically or mentally, you listen to your body is sending you and adjust accordingly.  Stay in. tune with you body will allow you to run for the long term.

What lessons have you learned from running?