Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What Running Has Taught Me

Happy National Running Day! 
On this day I couldn't help but think about how much my life has changed in the past year and half since I really made the commitment to becoming a runner and not just running every once and a while (and then forgetting about it for months).  In so many ways running truly acts like a metaphor for life.  What an amazing sport I have discovered!

Top 10 Lessons Running Has Taught Me
10. Take time to destress, reflect, & evaluate. - I found myself with nothing much to do on long runs except think.  This gave me lots of time (probably more than I would have liked at first) to reflect upon my day, my job, my relationships, etc.  I found that by taking the time to think about these things little problems disappeared before they turned into big ones.  Now, even when I'm not out for a long run I take time to reflect on a daily basis.
9. Life is Interconnected - What you do in one areas affect others. - Ever try to run 20 miles at 9am after staying out all night and binge eating fast food on the drive home?  Let me tell you from experience, it's horrid!  Running showed me how every aspect of my life influenced something else.  I stopped staying out late, started eating healthier, stopped taking in liquid calories, and noticed how much better I felt running.  Then, I realized how the same was true for so many other areas of my life and started to make more conscious decisions in everything I do.
8. Make Time - You are important. - I found that when I missed runs because of other commitments I felt sad, like I hadn't completed my entire day.  Sometimes it is inevitable that you can't get to everything, but I make an effort to squeeze in even a quick 1 mile run between commitments if that is all I have time to do.  I have tried to let this theory carry over into the rest of my life by making time for myself and what I enjoy doing.  It may sound like something small, but I now make sure I get to read for at least 15 minutes every night before bed.  It is wonderful to do good things for myself and I feel happier at the end of my day because of it.
7. Relationships are crucial. - I knew I couldn't do this alone.  I applaud those of you who are that motivated, but I needed someone to push me, to hold me accountable, and to be there for me on those really long runs.  I recruited T and it is one of the best decisions I ever made.  She is there for me through the good, bad, and ugly of running and I try to do the same for her.  Again, running is just like life.  Find quality people and keep them in the race with you.  (Look at that cheesy run metaphor.)
6. Being healthy makes you happy. - I found as I started to run I began to feel better and better about myself.  I knew I was doing something good for my body and that in turn it was becoming capable of so much more.  It doesn't have to be running, find your own fitness goal and continue to strive towards it.
5. You get what you put in. - Basically just like in anything in life the more you work at something, the more you give, the more you put into it, the more you get out.  This rings true whether it be in running, cross fit, the business world, school, etc.
4. If you want change, you must make a change. - This one is hard for me.  I tend to fall into a comfort zone and never leave.  I always ran my runs the same, same distance, same pace, but I was expecting different results.  How would my times get better if I never did anything different?  They wouldn't.  Now I add in sprints and intervals to change things up.  The same was true for me at work.  I was very unhappy at my old job, but stayed because I was comfortable.  I finally got smart and realized I couldn't just sit there and hope for change; I had to make the change myself.  (Have I mentioned how happy I am at my new job?)   
3. You learn from every failure. - In running, just like in the real world, things don't always go your way.  You do badly at a race, you fail an assignment, you get shot down when you ask someone out, a training run didn't go the way you planned, etc.  I could go on forever.  We have all made mistakes, we have all done worse than we wanted, but you can choose to dwell on it or you can choose to learn from it and move on to the next thing.
2. Don't be afraid to try. - My brother used to joke I only ran to ice cream and from bears.  I was the slow, goofy, out of shape kid and I turned into that adult.  So when I announced I was running a marathon people thought I was crazy, they thought I was stupid, and some of them thought there was no way I would do it.  Try.  How will you know if you don't give it a chance?  If you try and fail, then at least you know.  If you never try then you never know what you are capable of.
… and the #1 life lesson running taught me
1. Discover what you love. - Find out what motivates you, what makes you happy, and work to achieve that.  I know I am motivated to run when I am running with friends, lately by writing this blog, and by saving all my money up to schedule one travel marathon a year.  Just thinking about it keeps me going on those long runs.  Well for me those long days at work are just like those long runs.  By discovering what I love about my job and finding that one thing that motivates me to work harder, I know that I am being the very best possible version of myself I can be!

My National Running Day started out really crummy.  When I woke up to run before my conference it was pouring rain and I couldn't make it out the door.  However, it ended up great.  I went straight from my conference to night class, but the professor let us out after only about half the class time.  I got home early, it was still light out, and the rain had cause the temperature to drop so it was perfect running weather.  Woohoo running!  

Runner's World Summer Run Streak -
Day 10 - 4 miles
Total Miles Run - 38.5


  1. Good blog today, my favorite I think.

    1. Thanks for the kind compliment. Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. You definitely articulate well many of the things I think as I get more into running. Awesome post today!

    1. So glad that you are getting into running. I love when people discover & catch the running bug!

  3. I had chills the whole way through this post. You just articulated all of the reasons I run and made me realize others. So inspirational!

    1. Thanks so much. When I really started thinking about it it was almost hard to cut it to just 10. I cannot believe how much running gives back to us.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.