I wasn’t always a fan of running long distances.
In fact, I avoided it like the plague for the longest time. The thought of forcing myself to put on my shoes and pound payment for hours was the last thing I wanted to do.
Here’s the thing about running: it’s hard.
Not only is running physically and mentally demanding, but it is also defined by the challenge of being a solo sport that requires you to brave the elements. Rain or shine, high winds or 98% humidity, you’re out there counting down the miles.
When I was training for my last race, I started thinking about why I’ve grown to like running so much. I realized my love of running is not centered on the physical aspect. I mean being in good shape is important, but that isn’t the reason I do it.
I run because of what it teaches me and what it challenges me to do.
I have learned more about life while training for races than any other single thing I’ve done. Here are a few examples:
1) Navigating the Ups and Downs — Some days you feel like crap. Other days it feels as if you’re flying across the sidewalk. Just because you crush a run one day doesn’t mean you’ll do the same the next. Running is extremely unpredictable.
It turns out life is the exact same way.
Some days you wake up and feel lethargic. Other days your level of productivity is through the roof.
I didn’t appreciate this phenomenon after college. Life is not consistent, and no matter how hard you try, every day is different.
Running has since taught me that you have no choice but to get up every morning, stay positive, and power through it. You don’t get the high of a completing a record run without grinding through the lows of the 15 runs before it.
2) Redefining Commitment — When you are training for a race, you have to be whole-heartedly committed. You have to know your purpose and focus on your end goal no matter what.
I’ve learned the most successful people in life and business do the same thing.
All the crap, all the petty drama, all the bumps in the road are mere noise as these leaders relentlessly pursue what they’re working to achieve.
3) Embracing the Small Wins — Training for a marathon works out to be running somewhere in the ballpark of 25-30 miles per week for 12+ weeks. That gets really old.
No matter what end goal we’re trying to pursue — whether it be starting a business or learning a new language — running has shown me time and time again just how much the small wins matter.
As we work towards our end goal, every hint of progress should be cherished. I lose track of this mantra all the time, so writing this blog is in essence a reminder to myself as well.
I know not everyone is a runner and not everyone agrees with my thinking. But I do hope you’ll find that “thing”, that one activity that propels you forward each day. There’s so much to learn from dedication to a craft.
See you next Sunday at 8:30pm. 🙂