I love running. The joy, the excitement, the energy, but also the sweat, the hurdles, the pain, the conquering of one’s self. There were periods in my life when I didn’t run for a while for various reason but I always, always return to it. I noticed that I tend to run more when life gets difficult. When nothing seems to go my way, running gives me a sense of achievement and a confidence boost (and the endorphins help as well 😉
I believe that running is more than just a mere physical activity. There is some magic happening there. It helps you build you character and endurance, it makes you stronger both physically and mentally, it gives you clarity (I solved many of my problems while running) and it can teach you many important life lessons.
Here is what it taught me:
1. Life is a marathon not a sprint
The road is long so divide your energy wisely. Do not burn all the energy at the beginning. You have to perform during the whole race not just at the beginning. Some parts will require more of your energy to get through than others. Learn to distinguish when it’s worth the fight and when it’s wiser to lose a battle to win the war. Have the eyes on your prize, set you own tempo to get to the finish and do not get swayed by what other people are doing.
2. Running is energy and energy is life
Nothing in life stays the same. It’s either getting better or getting worse. Even if you leave the things just as they are they slowly start to deteriorate. Nobody wants to go backwards. Life is about progress. We feel the most alive when we feel a rush of energy flowing through our veins. When you do not feel energized by life, it’s time to find something that will ignite the spark. For me, there’s no better way to release tons of energy and experience that sense of being alive than going for a run.
3. Your performance will vary based on the condition you are in
In life, as in the trainings, you will have good days and you will have bad days. Just do the best you can for that particular day and don’t get discouraged when some days you can do just a little. We can’t deliver at peak performance every day. The important thing is to keep on moving forward.
4. Beginnings are hard but there can be no progress without the beginning
Every runner will tell you that the first 10-15 minutes are the worst. You have to overcome inertia and laziness, you can feel discomfort and you may even want to quit. But if you can force yourself through the initial resistance and get in the state of flow, you can go for hours. Once you set the tempo, everything will become easier. When fighting an internal battle whether I should start something or not (be it a run or some personal project) I ask myself what will I regret more, what will I benefit from more: doing it or not doing it? Answer to that questions helps me push through the initial difficulty.
5. Regularity brings results
Whether you want to improve your physical condition, learn new skill or start your own business, it’s not enough to dedicate your time to it just once. No action will bring you significant results after one repetition. Also if you let too much time pass between you efforts changes are that you will be on the same level as in the beginning. In order to advance you have to take steps to achieve your goal on regular basis. Practice makes master after all.
6. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people will multiply your energy
People who think along the same lines usually have same goals and aspirations as you and are interested in the same topics. When we talk about or do the things that interest us we can’t help but feel energized. Also we subconsciously tent to compare ourselves to people around us therefore seeing the accomplishments of like-minded people around you will naturally challenge you to level up with them and you will be more likely to fulfill those aspiration. Many studies have proven that success breeds success. It works vice versa as well so if you are surrounded by negative people with no aspirations at all you will most like not go too far.
7. When it gets though (and it will) it helps to have a power mantra
It helps to silence that voice in your head that is trying to discourage you. Mine is: “You can do this!” and “Quitting is not an option.” Works both in life and run.
8. Do not fight against the weather
When you are fighting against what you can’t change you are only loosing valuable energy and making yourself weaker. Accept the external conditions and work with what you have.
9. If you are not passionate about it you will never achieve greatness
When you are passionate about something you naturally tent to dedicate more time to it. It fills your whole being. You keep thinking about it all the time, you don’t mind working longer and harder. Your passion is helping you push through rough patches. Talent is important but it is only predisposition to success. If you do not cultivate that talent you are essentially wasting it. Talented people are often outperformed by passionate people because they are willing to put the effort in to achieve top results.
10. The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory
We humans tent to value more the things that we have to struggle for. We feel more fulfilled when we have to sacrifice something in order to get what we want. The reason may be that we usually grow and learn as a person in times of difficulty or challenge. By overcoming obstacles we gain personal strength. As one Chinese proverb says: “A gem cannot be polished without friction nor a man perfected without trials.”