minutes per mile blog

5 life lessons i’ve learned from running

Happy Friday! I can’t wait for this long weekend to start. Since we’ll have three days to rest and reflect, I thought I’d share some thoughts with you today. The theme: Life lessons learned from running. Here goes.

1. Keep taking small steps, and you can go really far. Literally and figuratively. Like I shared in my running story, when I first started running I could barely run/walk two miles. I was really slow and didn’t enjoy running at all. I would have never thought that I could have run a marathon, and it definitely wasn’t a goal for me at the start of my “career.” I began with two miles, then four miles, then six… then ten, and then a half marathon. And then, years later, a full marathon didn’t seem so impossible after all. Little steps!IMG_0980In normal life, I use this rule all the time — especially when I’m tasked with giant projects at work or when Anthony and I have a savings goal. I know that if I keep chipping away at something, eventually I can get there.

2. Progress can be uncomfortable. In the past couple years, I’ve really started pushing myself at the track. I set more aggressive goals and basically wipe myself out. It’s slightly painful but it pays off on race day! I’ve realized that if you want to get better at something, sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort boundaries.IMG_3377Example: Pretty sure my volleyball skills shot up this past year when I joined a men’s team of 6-foot tall Olympians. I was literally out of my league, but improved so much because of it.

3. Rest makes you stronger. This is one I still struggle with, but I’m much better than I used to be! I’ve learned that sometimes less is more when it comes to running; that is, cross-training, days off, and quality (not quantity) miles are what make me a better runner.

And if your rest days include a 32-ounce Mexican beer, that’s okay.
When it comes to life I think the same rules apply. I realized that if I don’t get enough sleep and don’t take breaks during the day (like taking a walk over lunch or making time to chat with my coworkers) then I’m grumpier AND less productive. I think we all need to give ourselves mo’ breaks, mo’ often.

4. Daydreaming is a good thing. When people tell me running is boring, I just don’t get it. I mean, yes, you are running in a straight line in silence for hours… but think of all the THINKING you can get done in that time! I spend a lot of time clearing my head and daydreaming during my runs and I think it’s good for my mental health. Or maybe it makes me crazier, I don’t know.0504150631Anyone else agree with this? Sometimes on days I don’t run I feel like I don’t even have time to think or reflect. It makes me feel scattered and stressed.

5. Comparison won’t get you anywhere. One of my favorite things about my last coach was that one of his core beliefs was that we (as in me and you) are not Olympians, and therefore shouldn’t try to compare our training plans to theirs. I guess this could be a bit of a letdown for some people, but I’ve found that it’s made me more confident and comfortable with my level of fitness. When I’m at the start line of a race, it’s not about winning the event — it’s about running for ME and doing my personal best. And maybe not even my best of all time — just my best for that day. I’ve had a number of fast races and slow races. Though the slow ones aren’t quite as fun, I’ve learned that they’re not a bad thing and are, eventually, unavoidable. That’s just life.purity_dairy_dash 10k 2015I feel like this is a major theme in yoga — the non-comparison/accept where you are today thing. Obviously this idea is a good one to carry into everyday life, too. Constantly comparing yourself to other people only leads to negativity — and constantly comparing yourself to your “old self” will take you down a bad road, too. Stay present and don’t look back.

Have a great memorial day weekend!

  • Life lessons that running has taught you?
  • Which one of the above do you agree/disagree with most?
  • Tell me what you’re doing this weekend!

10 thoughts on “5 life lessons i’ve learned from running

  1. Running has taught me that I’m so much stronger than I ever thought I was and that what my body can do is so much more important than how my body looks.

    I most agree with #4 – daydreaming is one of my favorite things to do. That’s pretty much all I do when I’m running. Some of my best ideas have come while I was running!

    This is a great post! Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. I totally agree with them all, but most importantly ..rest makes you stronger. From 15 years of running and many injuries along the way, I ‘ve learned quality runs more important than quantity and rest and i’ve developed more PATIENCE ! Although i just love the way Running makes me feel stronger and more ALIVE than ever and the friendships from running with friends! And some solo runs are fantastic for thinking or mental clearing / daydreaming etc ! I’ve also learned to relax more and the more i do, the more fun i have, and i seem to run better and faster than if i am caught up in time goals all the time !

  3. I love all of these tips. I have been training for a half. I do a little each day but it’s so hard to see others complete multiple marathons in weekend. I know that we are start somewhere. I love your type of cheat days.

    • everyone is different. i personally don’t see the point in risking injury to race nonstop, but some people seem to do it without a problem. do you!

  4. I agree with them all! I still struggle with giving myself enough rest, but sometimes I remind myself of the time that I was pissed off at my 800m splits, gave myself a week off speed work, and the following week I dropped 10 seconds for each split!

    Running has taught me that I can do so much more than I ever thought I would be able to do. Just two years ago, I wouldn’t have called myself a runner at all, but joined the cross country team on a whim and now I can’t imagine a life without running.

    This weekend, I’m going to knock out an 8-miler in Oregon!

  5. All true! I have to continually remind myself that progress means you have to be uncomfortable sometimes.
    #4 (Daydreaming): yep! I look forward to long runs the same way I look forward to long drives. All the time in the world to think and reflect

  6. This was such a nice read as I go through a bit of a lull where every run is feeling tougher than usual. I just took a moment to remind myself of how far I’ve come and how much I should appreciate just being able to be with my own thoughts for a bit no matter the pace! Have a great long weekend… I always enjoy reading your recaps :)