This upcoming weekend is the weekend I am supposed to run my first marathon. But, I got hurt, could not run for a little over two months, and now am just getting back into the swing of things. To be completely honest I am heartbroken about not being able to run this race. As I looked down at my planner to make my to do list for the week I saw the word MARATHON plastered all over Saturday’s date with stars around it and I cried while scratching it out with my pen.
I have been pain free for a few weeks now and I have not pushed myself past 3 miles because I am terrified that the pain is going to come back. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop so to speak. If you have any tips for how to get over this fear please feel free to share your wisdom! As of now I have pulled back from running a little bit as my husband and I have really gotten into swimming. While I love swimming, and anyone who knew me growing up knows I live in the pool during summer time, it cannot take the place of running in my heart.
I started running around the time I turned 16. Since I am turning 26 this weekend I thought I would share 5 things I have learned about life from running in the last 10 years. Maybe this will cure my marathon blues.
- It is all mental.
Running can be a tougher mental sport than physical one at times. Do not get me wrong. Running is HARD physical work, but sometimes that mental game gets to you. I have had many runs where my body obviously could keep going, but my mind tells me no. It is frustrating, annoying, agitating, ________ (insert whatever word you feel here), etc. I think life can be the same at times. We all have days where we would rather jump back into bed all day rather than face whatever hard or scary thing we know we have to face that day. I have learned that it is easier to face the hard thing dead on rather than avoiding it and having to deal with the anxiety of avoiding said scary thing. Pushing past hard moments builds character. Embrace it just like you would on a hard run. The ups and downs are just part of the journey.
- Setting goals is important.
I will let you in on a little secret about me: I am a nerd. I love goals. I love lists. I love planning things out. This all ties into my Type A personality I am sure, but I truly think goals are important. Goals keep us striving forward out of our comfortable little nests we call a comfort zone. Well, they will if you set them that way. Then again, is it really a goal if it keeps where we always are? Food for thought. Anyway…back to the point. There are endless goals for running. Anything from distance, speed, qualifying for specific races, etc. The list goes on. Life is the same way. You can have goals for school, goals for work, goals for sports, goals for new activities you want to learn.
There are also different kinds of goals to set. Short term and long term. We set long term goals that are the big picture and then we can set the short term goals up for how to reach the long term. All you need to do is be S.M.A.R.T about your goal. Remember learning that in school? Be specific. Make it measurable. Make it achievable. Think about what you want the results to be. Make a timeline for your goal.
My goal is still to run a marathon and I have two races I am debating between. However, I am not going to announce anything until I get the fear out of my head of getting injured again.
- Sometimes we need to slow down.
There are days when I am running and everything is clicking. My breathing is great, my legs feel weightless, the weather is perfect and so I kick up the speed until I realize that I sped up too fast too quickly and have to pull myself back to catch my breath. Life can be the same.
Being busy has become a symbol of success in our society. If you are busy you are important, needed, and good at what you do. Or so that is what many think. If you honestly reflect on your schedule do you think you could use a little pause here and there? We all could. If you do not take the time out to relax and slow down you will more than likely burn yourself out.
Take time to do things you enjoy that fill your soul. Read, run, walk, play golf, do whatever it is that refills your energy. Make it a priority to do those things on a regular basis.
- Change up the scenery!
I have the same lake trail I love to run on every week, but sometimes I just need a change of location. If we run the same trails all the time it no longer becomes a challenge after a while. Different trails means different difficulties!
When we feel as if we are in a rut with life that might mean we just need a change of pace. Go to a different coffee shop, run in a different neighborhood, take your work out of the office and into a different location. It is amazing how the brain becomes creative in different settings.
- There is always room for improvement.
I know that I still have so much to learn with running and I am excited to do so. In life we are always to be learning. There is so much out there! In every career there is always room to grow. Even if you happen to be the top person in your field there is always more to learn. If you feel you have learned everything you can in one area move to another!
These are just 5 life lessons I have learned in the last ten years. Hopefully year 26 will be the year of 26.2 miles for me. If not, I will keep on trying!
Run. Sweat. Do something to achieve your goal!
Until next week my friends. Peace.