The benefits of running are numerous and many of the are easy to spot. Obviously, better health comes to mind and that is a big reason for a lot of people to continue running. Over the last year I have had a significant change in my health and running has played a significant role in that. But, there are other benefits to running that have played just as significant of a role in my life as better health.
I can think of lots of lessons I learned through running and I may do another post later with more, but here are 3 things I have learned from running that has made me a better person.
#1 Focus on the journey not the destination.
I have gone through most of my life in a hurry to get somewhere and do something. I am sure there are a lot of factors that play into this, but I think one of the big ones is that I am just impatient. Being impatient leads me to want to just get there and get done. Sometimes the process of getting somewhere is even better than what you are getting to.
When I ran the two half marathons last year I talked to the people around my while running. I watch the scenery and enjoyed the atmosphere created during the race of the cheering spectators. That was more fun that crossing the finish line. Even more important than that was the journey to get to race day. I spent a lot of time with people building relationships that have impacted my life. I have opportunities now that came from the training and have nothing to do with the race itself. The things I learned while training last year are what made me want to start Run Richmond. The lessons you learn along the way will be just as important, if not more so, than the what you find out by reaching your goal.
#2 Sometimes it just isn’t going to work out.
We can do everything right and things come out wrong. I was training like crazy before a 5K last year and knew that I was going to set new PR. I had done numerous training runs in the weeks leading up to the 5K that would have been PR’s (by a lot) if they were actual races. The day of the race I took off and things felt pretty good…until I hit a wall. About 2 miles into the race my energy level dropped and all of a sudden it was all I could do to keep running. My pace slowed and eventually I took to a run/walk strategy to finish. I missed a PR by seconds and was really mad at myself.
After looking back at it there were a lot of things learned that day, but #1 was that some days it just doesn’t all come together. Sometimes no matter how hard you try for something it just isn’t going to work out for you. That doesn’t mean the work you put into it was in vain. That just means the lessons may have been more valuable than the hoped for results. We can’t ever forget that life will be full of disappointments, what we do during and coming out of those disappointments is what reveals our true character.
#3 Perspective changes everything.
You can decide in most any aspect of your life to pull back and stay with the people behind you are push forward and push the people in front. I believe without a doubt that we will all get more out of life by trying to push the people in front of us. We don’t necessarily need to try to take their spot, but if they are farther along in the journey they have likely seen things we haven’t yet. There are things we can learn from them that we can’t from the people behind us.
If you want to take the easy way out slow down and wait for the people that aren’t working as hard as you. This will lead to you not only failing to live up to your potential, but you could actually bring the other person down because you may have been the person they had been following for inspiration.
In life we are either going to be influenced by the people we surround ourselves with. Go find someone to follow, see what the world looks like from their perspective. Don’t sit and wait for the people behind you, encourage them to fight harder and get to where you are. Show them how you got there. Share your knowledge and your inspiration with them. That will make them better and also give you a stronger community to help with your journey. I think of it as playing king of the hill like we did as kids. The objective was always to knock the person off the top so you could get there. In life though rarely do you get to the top by taking down other people. You get to the top by making the people below better. All of a sudden those people start raising you up. Before long you have exceeded your own expectations for yourself. The community of people supporting you have made you better.