I publish three posts a week on this blog. My blog writing process usually includes cramming all three posts into one day on a Sunday while all my household chores go untouched.
Writing is the easy part for me. It's coming up with three new and interesting topics each week that is harder. I usually keep my mind open to ideas all week and text myself if anything comes to mind. Then when I sit down to write on Saturday and Sunday, I review my notes and start writing. Sometimes before I begin to write I have no idea what I will write about and wonder if I will be able to crank out another three posts. Inevitability it all comes together by Sunday night and I am all set for the week.
Last weekend I had an incredibly full and busy Saturday and then a long run planned for Sunday. I wrote two of the blogs on Sunday morning but my mind was going blank for today's post. With two blog posts done I hit the streets in Fort Worth for an eight mile training run for the Cowtown half marathon in February. There is nothing like a long run to get those creative juices flowing. I came up with the idea for the post and wrote it mostly in my head over those eight miles. If only I had a voice recorder I may not have had the hard part of translating it all to the keyboard once I returned home.
What did I think about on my long run this week? I thought a lot about how running teaches us life lessons and the parallels between life and the long run.
EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE I LEARNED ON THE LONG RUN.
YOU CAN'T RUSH PROGRESS
You can't rush progress or results. If you try to go out too fast you will lose steam. It you try to increase your miles too soon you could risk injury. It's detrimental to do too much too soon. A better strategy for life and the long run is to take things slowly and progress as you are ready. Slow and steady may not win the race, but it gets us across the finish line happy and healthy.
YOU NEED TO PUT IN THE WORK TO REAP THE REWARDS
Have you ever showed up for a race untrained? I have and it makes for a miserable experience. In order to reap the rewards you have to put in the daily work. It's the consistent hard work over weeks, months and years that pays off in the end. You can't cut corners on the path to success. Consistency is the key.
YOU NEED TO REST AFTER WORKING HARD
After a long run it's best to take a rest day or two. You have to recover after putting in hard work. You just can't keep grinding without a break. Work hard then recover hard, both in running and in life. Schedule a massage, take a vacation, lock the bathroom door while you take a bubble bath. Work hard, recover, repeat.
BE IN THE MOMENT
On a long run it's not a good idea to think about how much farther you have to go. You'll do best to focus on the mile you are in. Appreciate where you are, don't focus too much on how far you have to go to reach your goals. Focus on the things you need to do right now to move yourself towards your goals.
ACHIEVING HARD THINGS GIVES YOU CONFIDENCE, CONFIDENCE HELPS YOU TO ACHIEVE HARD THINGS
One of the great life lessons that running teaches us is that we can do hard things. Remember the first time you ran one mile or a 5K? It seemed like an impossible feat. Then you did it. Then you knew you could do it. Then you realized you could do more. Then you did more. Achieving hard things gives you confidence, confidence helps you achieve hard things. Get out of your comfort zone and try new things that seem hard. You never know what you are capable of, you may surprise yourself.
IT'S A MENTAL GAME
As much as running is physical, it is mental. Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right. Sure, you need to be prepared, but a positive mindset and a few well placed mantras can get you through the tough times during a long run. Keep your chin up, look for the bright side, stay positive and you'll do great on that run and in life.
YOU HAVE TO BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR PLANS
As a running coach I will tell you that the best training plan is one that is dynamic, one that changes over time as you do. It's impossible to know sixteen weeks in advance exactly how your body will respond to various training. In life and the long run, have a plan, but be flexible. Life changes. Stay consistent but have flexibility in the path to get there.
WHEN EVERYTHING IS GOING WELL YOU CAN GO AT IT ALONE, BUT WHEN TIMES GET TOUGH IT'S BETTER WITH FRIENDS
A long run can be a lonely run and when things are going well, you can surely do it alone, but when times get tough the support of running friends can help you through those tough miles. Whether it's a cheering family member on the sidelines, a friend joining for you for the last five miles or words of wisdom from a loved one that you repeat in your head, lean on your friends when you need them most, ask for help and welcome their support. It's a lesson that will serve you well in running and in life.
YOU CAN'T CONTROL EVERYTHING, TRY TO MAKE THE BEST OF EVERYTHING
You can't control the weather, that loose dog or that jerk that yelled "Run, Forrest, Run" out of his car window at you. It rained during your long run, It was 90 degrees and humid during your race. $hit happens. You can only control the things you can control, for everything else do your best to let it go.
USE GRATITUDE TO GET THROUGH THE PAIN
Sometimes when I am having a particularly hard run, I try to focus on the things I am thankful for instead of the pain. I have two strong legs and a healthy heart. The weather is nice today. I have the drive and motivation to be out here in the first place. I live in a neighborhood where it is safe to run on the streets. I have enough food to fuel my body for runs. I have enough income to spend some of it on race entries and gear. Shifting my focus to gratitude helps get me through those miles and my life.
What has running taught you?
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