If you know anything about my family or me you know that we are huge runners. I don’t mean runners as in we like to run on the treadmill once a week; I mean runners as in we live and breathe running. Our idea of bonding is training for half and full marathons every year. When I try to explain this to people they always give me weird faces or ask how people could love running that much. The truth is, running is a lifestyle: it’s my lifestyle. I’ve learned so many things through running that I could never learn in school, or from people, for that matter. Running has shaped me into the person I am today and for that, I could not be more grateful.
In order to prove to people that running is more than a dreaded chore, I want to share the life lessons and mindsets that running has taught me over the past ten years of my life.
How to be passionate
If there is one thing I have learned from running it is how to be passionate about something. I have never felt the emotion of passion fully until I began running. Running is something that I love with everything in me. If you get me talking about running, you will never get me to stop. It is the one topic that I am excited to talk about for hours upon hours. My sisters, dad, and I have had so many intense or fun-loving conversations about running that I can’t keep track. Running is something that I can truly say I love with all my heart. My passion for running grows and grows every race.
How to set goals and accomplish them
Everyone has heard of the quote “Reach for the stars” and this is something that running has 100 percent taught me. Being that I am so competitive, I am always setting new times that I want to reach when I run, even if I am not running a race. It’ll be a typical Sunday night and I will have a time in the back of my head that I want to finish my run in. Along with this, there have been numerous times when I’ve looked down at my watch at the end of a run and been disappointed with my time. Instead of being upset, I am motivated. I am eager to get that time for my next run. If I don’t make the time one night, you bet I’ll be making the time the following night. Running is all about pushing yourself and going outside of your limits. I’ve never felt more accomplished after a run when I reach my goal. In fact, I have so many goals that I want to reach that I am constantly setting more goals for myself to accomplish. Setting goals and reaching them is an indescribable feeling.
How to lose
Throughout my racing career there have been many times I have lost. Whether I am losing to my sisters, other people around me, or myself, the feeling of defeat is always the same. Running has taught me that it is OK to lose and that you can’t always win. There have been times where I have trained for over six months and still haven’t finished a race with the time that I wanted; all those long runs, early mornings, and late nights had gone to waste. I learned that sometimes finishing the race is winning in itself and that you don’t always have to be “number one” in order to feel accomplished or good about yourself.
How to fight through the tough times
Injuries, injuries, injuries. Running an average of twenty-five miles per week screams for injuries. There have been times when I have been training for weeks and weeks only to be told that I can’t run three days before my race due to injury. One time in particular, I fractured my ankle two days before one of my half marathons. I have never been more devastated in my life; I spent four months training all for nothing. I spent hours upon hours crying and wondering what I could have done differently to avoid this injury. I couldn’t even go to the race that Sunday to watch my family run because I was so depressed. From this, I learned that you cannot let things like injuries hold you back. I was worried not only about missing my race, but also about my last cross-country season in fall, but I didn’t let it stop me. I took care of my ankle and began biking as soon as possible. I trusted my doctor and did not start running too early. When I was finally healthy, I trained hard and ran more than ever. I ended up having the best cross country season ever with multiple PB’s (personal bests). From this experience, I learned that you have to let your setbacks motivate you, not destroy you. Tough times are tough, but their turn arounds make all the difference.
How to be motivated
In order to be a successful runner you must stay motivated. The amount of times I have had to wake up at 6 a.m. to run in order to beat the scorching is infinite. The amount of times I wanted to sleep in and not run is even more infinite. Without motivation, there is no training, no running everyday and no accomplishing your goals. Running has taught me how to strive and how to want to improve myself. No one would be where they are today without motivation.
How to love
Yes, that’s right. Running has taught me how to love. There are few things in this world that I love and admire more than running. Although there are times I want to quit and never run again I always come back to running because of what it has given to me (almost like a couple that is constantly on and off). I have never been more in love with a sport or a hobby. Running is something I can do when I’m happy, sad, or stressed. There is never a bad time to run, which makes it so appealing to me. My love for running grows more as time goes on.
Running is something that I was born into. Being the daughter of a marathoner runner, I was destined to be a runner. I grew up watching my dad run and slowly, as I grew older, I began running with my dad. Running is in my blood, it’s in my heartbeat, it is something that I hold very close to my heart. I truly believe I would not be who I am today without running, and I would not have the same mindset I have today.
I challenge everyone to try and look at the positives of running before saying you “can’t” do it. Anyone can run and anyone can learn the same lessons from running that my family and I have. Running isn’t perfect but the lessons I have learned from this activity are, and that makes all the difference.