What Running Has Taught Me

If you are a runner, or maybe even if you aren’t, you know that running has many different benefits. 

Of course, there are the obvious physical benefits as well as mental health benefits such as reducing stress levels and helping to build someone’s confidence.

Beyond those benefits, however, are the lessons that are less talked about when it comes to running. 

Lessons that help us to become better as a runner and sometimes as a person also.

Running has taught me so many things since I started doing it for fun about 15 or so years ago. 

Of course, it would have been nice to know some or all of them when I first started running, but learning them as you go can be just as good. 

While there have been many things that I’ve learned, here are a few of the best lessons that running has taught me over the years:

Believe in Yourself// For some, like me, believing in yourself can take time.  Sometimes, it depends on your starting point.  If it’s been a while since you’ve run or if have never run in your life, then it might take some time to start feeling confident.  This is one of the reasons it’s so important to start out slow and be patient. 

For me, I started to believe more in myself once I started to see some results and feel more comfortable with running.  From there, it seemed like a snowball effect and my confidence continued to grow. 

Trust Your Process// Whatever your process or plan is, trust it.  If you don’t trust it, then develop a new one!  Everyone is at different stages of their process, so no matter what your running goals are, it’s important to stick to your process.  As your goals change, the process to get there might also need to be changed and there is nothing wrong with that.

I change my process from time to time to give myself a better chance of achieving my goals.  My process when I first started running was much different than it is now.  As time goes on, you understand yourself better and the things that your body and mind can handle as it relates to running. 

Keep Going// Setbacks are part of the experience of running and help you continue to progress.  There’s a cumulative benefit of difficult runs or experiences.  They serve as building blocks for you to stand on to keep moving forward.  It’s often said that we learn the most from our failures and running has exemplified that time and time again.  So, if you come up against an obstacle, try to run through or around it and keep pushing towards your goals.

I have discussed some of my obstacles in previous blog posts, but I’ve had them just like everyone else has them.  We react differently to them and overcome them in different ways, but if we stopped every time an obstacle was put in our way, we would never achieve anything!

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff// There are a few different ways to say this one, but the gist is don’t get too down on yourself if you have a bad run or are going through a difficult period in your training.  As long as you continue to stay motivated and keep your goals in sight, a down day or period won’t affect the outcome too much. 

I also try not to get too excited over a great run or great training period.  Of course, it’s fine to use a good run or period of training to boost your confidence and get you believing that you can reach your goals.  I just mean I try not to go overboard.  When the time comes, you still have to go out and achieve your goals – so it’s important to keep up with your plan!

I know that some of these might seem cliché and, if that’s the case, then use this as a reminder of things that running has taught you. 

As basic as they might be, it’s still important to use these lessons and put them into action.  If you do, they can change everything!    

Hopefully, I’ll continue to learn new things the more I run and be able to put them to use as best as I can to reach my goals!

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