What Running Has Taught me About Life

Thursdays are for Thinking out Loud! I have been wanting to jump on the band wagon of some of the themed blogger posts each week (like WIAW, fitness friday,etc.) and I’m finally doing it! So for my first Thinking out loud post, I thought what better topic to talk about than running.

Ohh yea, special thanks to Running with Spoons for this fabulous link up!

Running= life. I have been doing a lot of thinking during my outdoor runs about how running (competitively or for leisure) relates to life. While it may sound cliche, running has taught me a lot about myself. Running has helped me to relieve stress and to make not so great days a bit better. Especially now being 1 month into dental school, running is my escape from the craziness that is now my life. Seriously. As I write this post I am sitting in bed after prepping for my 3rd & 4th exams of the week so bear with me here. Hopefully I get my ideas across in a coherent manner, but I can’t promise anything. Exhaustion sets in real fast nowadays.

Lets get to it- here is what running has taught me about myself.

1. There’s always a little bit left in the tank.

What do I mean by this? You can always give a little bit more. Even on days when I feel drained, my legs are tired, or its a thousand degrees outside, I can always give a bit more, run a little longer, harder, etc. While running my first half marathon, this really held true to me. Around mile 11, I was starting to feel drained, but I knew that I could push harder and finish with a good time. This relates to other areas of life too- school, work, parenting, family life, etc. There are times when I feel super burnt out with school (like right now, womp), but I know I can dig deep and find some motivation to keep studying and working hard (diggin’ real deep nowadays).

2. Time Management

This has probably been one of my biggest takeaways from competitive running (high school & college). When you have lots of practices, meets, training sessions, etc. and are trying to balance school, work, and extra curricular activities, you have to manage your time well. I learned to direct my full attention to each of my activities and stop “multitasking” (aka me getting nothing done). I am the queen of checking Facebook, twitter, instagram, etc. while doing homework and taking “5 minute breaks” but when you have a lot to juggle, those have to be cut out. Being an efficient time manager helps me to not have to cram for tests and lets me get my runs/ workouts in daily (well 6 days a week).

3. Success is different for everyone.

Many people who have played sports/ competed may have learned this/ have this mindset.  In terms of running, success may mean getting a PR, running harder during training, passing other runners on the course, or just simply giving it their all. The same thing applies to life- for some success may mean nailing their dream job, while for others it may volunteering or starting a family. Some people define success by money, some by education, and others by their relationship with their friends/family.

4. The beginning is always the hardest

I have always had a hard time with beginnings- intros of papers, new jobs, the start of the school year, the beginning of a race, leaving for a road trip etc. When you see a long journey ahead of you, it can be difficult to stay motivated. But- if there is one thing that I have learned it is that the finish line is not as important as the starting line. Deciding to start a new venture takes courage. Whether its the decision to lace up the trainers and run outside when you aren’t feeling it, or its deciding to run a marathon, start a new business venture, or move to a new city- it takes guts.

5. Happiness/ success doesn’t come from crossing the finish line.

Similarly to #4- the joy is in the journey. While it does feel awesome to cross the finish line with a kick ass PR, or to finish a longer distance race- one cannot discount the path taken to get there.The miles, sweat, determination, early mornings, etc. shaped that finish. For many runners, the finish line does not signify an end, but rather another beginning. Another new race to train for, a new goal to tackle, a new training schedule, etc. Sometimes it may seem like the end goal will bring you happiness, but for me it’s the steps that it took for me to get there that bring me the most joy.

6. Your body is capable of more than you ever dreamed it would be.

Think you could never run more than 3 miles? I bet you can. Don’t think you can take on a Mud Run? Sign up. Always wanted to run a marathon but don’t think you are capable? Give it a try. You will surprise yourself. I am always surprised at how much my body can handle. Ever heard that saying “The body achieves what the mind believes”?? Honestly may have just butchered that saying (I’m tired- ok)- but you get my point. Your mind gives up a million times before your body does. So go out there are push your limits! I bet you’ll be glad you did.

7. Set Backs make you stronger

Success comes from struggling. I have dealt with numerous injuries during my running career, but have continued to push forward to keep doing what I love. Time off running has taught me to rest, to be patient, and to listen to my body. It has also taught me the power of a comeback. Everyone loves a good comeback don’t they? The workouts that were once easy are suddenly difficult. You have to work much harder to achieve the same results you previously achieved with less effort. Sounds kind of miserable. I actually love it. It teaches you to appreciate what your body can do. There is nothing better than being at your peak athletic performance, but it is humbling to struggle. Same thing goes with work, school, etc. Oh and am I learning that now in school. Being really bad at something (in my case its drilling into fake teeth/ carving with wax) really gives you a new perspective on life. It’s easy to get down on yourself when you aren’t naturally good at something or when everyone else seems to be so much better at something than you are. Don’t be so hard on yourself- allow yourself to struggle.

Ok, I’m down rambling for the night. Hopefully my fellow runners can relate. My eyes are starting to get heavy as I type this so its time for bed- but I wanna know what you think in the comments!

What has running taught you??? Or athletics in general? I wanna know!!! Tell me in the comments 🙂

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