Morning! We’re going deep here on the blog today. I spent some time this morning searching my soul and coming up with five life lessons I’ve learned from running. Let me know what other lessons I missed in the comments!
- Take it one step at a time and you’ll get there. This is basically my life motto and is obviously directly related to running. When I started running in 2006 I could barely run one mile and was logging a 10-minute mile. I didn’t know anything about running except that I liked it and wanted to get a little bit better. By setting small goals and plugging along, I made it to two miles — then five miles — then seven — and so on! I never ever ever thought I would run a marathon but I guess that’s what happens if you take things one step at a time. I’ve applied this same step-by-step approach to other professional and personal goals and it works every time
- The uphills will always be harder than the downhills. Did you know that the speed you gain on a downhill will never be equivalent to the speed you lose on an uphill? Sad but true, guys. “Every percent gradient of incline (going uphill) will slow you by 12-15 seconds per mile, and every percent gradient of decline (going downhill) will aid you by 8 seconds per mile.” (source)This one is true in life, too. I think that challenges often outweigh their rewards — but hey, we still have to tackle them, right? If not, our life would just be like a boring flat treadmill run 😉
- Appreciate each day. This one is kind of cheesy but I’m writing it anyways! I run outside with no headphones and have to rely on the great outdoors for entertainment during my runs. Even during the cold, ugly days of winter (like this week!), I think that consistently spending 40-80 minutes outside almost every day makes me appreciate everything that dear mother nature has to offer. For example, even though all the trees lose their leaves and the skies are grey during the dreariest days of winter, I’ve learned to love the spindly silhouettes I spot on my runs.
- Pace yourself. I’ve learned this one the hard way on the race route! If you throw strategy out the door and start a race too fast, you’ll pay for it in the end. Same with life, people. As my mom always says — haste makes waste! If only I could remember this lesson when dicing garlic, which I always do way too fast and end up dicing my thumb. But at least I nailed my latest marathon pace/finish time goal on the dot.
- Let your competitors motivate you (not discourage you). When I’m out running in a group or in a race, it’s easy to get discouraged by the people who breeze by me — but I try not to let them distract me (which will ultimately lead to negative thoughts, which in turn can slow me down). Instead, I’ve found that trying to keep up with someone juuuuust slightly faster than me is the best trick for gaining both speed and confidence. Lean on your competitors to help carry you to the finish line, and learn everything you can from them along the way. I’ve had some great chats with other runners during races and it’s been awesome to high-five each other when we cross the finish line together. Your competitors can quickly become your support team if you let them!
And that’s it! I guess I’ve learned a few other life lessons along the way (such as: you should always eat your Gu before it’s too late) but I’ll have to save those for another post :). What other lessons do you have to share?