Exercise; most of us love the results but hate the act of it. Especially when it comes to long distance running. It is hard, it is time-consuming, and it is messy. But, all physical fitness benefits aside, there is so much one can learn for committing to it. When you make running your sport, you gain a lot more than leg muscles and strong lungs, you’re getting life lessons.
All things take time. You start that first mile, you feel great and hopeful and like you’re going to run that marathon today! You won’t. And that’s normal. No person can do that. Forrest Gump is not real. Put in your due diligence and the results will follow.
Any workout is a good workout. It can take a whole season to shave off just one second of your overall personal record, which is torture, but worth the work once you see that all your efforts have worked. Rome wasn’t built in a day, remember?
3. Mind over matter
Sometimes the only thing holding you back is your own mind. You may think that a 10k or 26.2 miles is a long way but you must also think that one step is so easy. One step at a time will get you that full distance.
4. Money doesn’t equal success
You don’t have to have the fanciest watches or gadgets to be a “real” runner. The most successful runners often train in worn out sneakers, or none at all, in order to have less heel striking harming their knees. All that beeping and noise from apps letting you know how you’re progressing gets distracting. Running is the most basic form of transportation; people did it for thousands of years as a means of survival. Unplug yourself for a bit.
5. Don’t act off stress
When you’re stressed or mad, go get fresh air. Use that frustration for fuel and run until you’ve yelled enough in your head. Once things are said, you can’t unsay them. Take some time to think, it will all be ok. Very few matters we stress over will actually result in a life or death scenario.
6. Live for yourself
You don’t have to stay perfectly in line with anyone else. Running, as we all come to learn, is an independent sport. You run those miles for you, not for anyone else. And that’s kind of how you should live life as well. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re doing it for yourself and for your happiness; not to carry out some ideal that society seemed to ingrain in your mind.
7. You are the captain of your destiny
You can feel accomplished by the strength of yourself and don’t need others to tell you anything otherwise. This one’s important – mostly because it’s something running teaches you in the beginning. Everyone has to work hard to be good at something, even those who are naturally gifted. You have to keep working to get better, but it’s all up to you about how much harder you want to work.
8. Remember where you came from
Any run you start, you have to know how to get back there. You go until it hurts and you have to turn around to keep going.
9. Rest days are a gift
No matter how long you’ve been running, there will always be days your body feels tired and worn out. Listen to it. It’s telling you to take a recovery break. Same goes for mental health days. Don’t let yourself get too overwhelmed with what’s going on with life because then you really will never heal and get back on your feet. Treat yourself to a day of rest, a day of watching your favorite tv show, a day of doing something just for you.
10. Manage your time wisely
Speaking from personal terms, this goes for those winter months when it gets darker quickly, meaning there is no time to put off your run if you want to run with the sun. Don’t put off until later what you should be doing now. It’ll only hurt you in the long run.
Team running may stop after graduation but it’s important to keep it up. As we grow there will be less and less time for yourself so it’s good to get in the habit of having a physically and mentally healthy pastime. Life truly isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and you won’t ever finish a marathon if you don’t learn how to pace yourself properly.
Collaboration with Gwen Poppe.