This is a guest post from Lesley of Greater Fitness. She is the blogger behind my runDisney tutu creations. Be sure to check out her blog!
I am not a natural runner. I started running as a way to lose weight. Sure, shiny medals and new shoes are fun, but my running focus was all about dropping pounds in the beginning of my running journey. As the pounds came off, I started to truly enjoy running, and I began to see so many other benefits from it, besides the weight loss that I was experiencing. Now, I no longer run to lose weight. I run because I can’t quit it. I’ve learned so much through my running experience that I think other runners can relate to as well. If you are new to running, just starting or if you are a seasoned runner I think we can all learn a thing or two from running. Here are just a few of the important things that running has taught me over the past 3 years (in no particular order):
1. To Appreciate the Importance of Solitude
I am a talker. I don’t spend a lot of my time alone. I enjoy the company of my family and friends, and I like to meet new people. Before I started running, my “alone time” consisted of me cleaning, reading a book, or watching a show on television. When I started running it was really weird for me to not talk for 30 minutes or more. “This is boring.” I would say to myself. Gradually, I started to see why so many runners liked the alone time they had. Runs became a way for me to “shakeout” my head and come back home refreshed. I enjoy going on a run with other people from time to time, but now my favorite runs are solo. I look forward to that time so I can literally only focus on putting one foot in front of the other when my mind is focusing on a million other things the rest of the day.
2. Who My True Friends Are
This is one of the most important things that running has taught me. I am so thankful that I am surrounded by a supportive group of friends. I’ve run in several races with many of my friends, and the experiences have been eye-opening. I ran a few races in which “friends” were highly competitive with me, and it was hurtful. However, I’ve been lucky to have experiences that are the exact opposite. The friends that I race with now are in a competition with themselves, just as I am. I’ve learned to appreciate my friendships so much more through running. Running has allowed me to see different sides of my friends that I never witnessed before. I’ve seen friends crush their finish time goals, overcome injuries, cry at a finish line, struggle with a training plan, etc. Likewise, a group of my friends waited for me to walk across a finish line with an injury many minutes after they finished, they text me to see how my training is going, and they motivate me to be a better runner because they have faith in me. We’ve accomplished many goals together, and we applaud each other’s individual efforts.
3. A New Attitude is Just a Run Away
When I’m in a bad mood I tend to immediately crave a run. Sure, I’ll stuff my face with gelato if I’m sad about something, but 9 times out of 10 I will lace up my shoes and just walk away from whatever stress has caused my attitude to head south. Running has truly become a much cheaper form of therapy for me. Most of my best running times have been when I started a run while I was angry or upset. I get tunnel vision when I’m pounding the pavement, and I’m not controlling my emotions the way I should. Somehow, running magically adjusts my mood, and I’m much more able to cope with whatever has contributed to my bad mood.
4. To Not Be Afraid
I was a big ball of nerves the first time I ran a race. But, as I completed each new race my confidence soared. I have learned that I can truly accomplish the goals that I have set for myself if I work for them. Each race has pushed me to do better at the next, to strive for new PRs and train harder. I’m not afraid to be the last in the pack, I’m not afraid I’ll fail. Running taught me my strengths and weaknesses as an athlete. More than anything, running is always teaching me to be a better person. To not be afraid of the skin I’m in and to be satisfied with my accomplishments.
If you are a runner I am sure that running has taught you things that have truly changed your life. If you are not a runner then maybe this list will motivate you to give it a try!
QOTD: What has running taught you about life?