A woman trail running on top of a mountain.
(Photo: Getty Images)

Six Life Lessons You Can Learn From Running

Six lessons in perspective and attitude running has taught me

A woman trail running on top of a mountain.
Beth Risdon

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When I first started running a few years ago, my motivation was more for my emotional health than anything else. I was a mom of two young kids and desperately needed an outlet. I found my peace, therapy and sanity in running, as I know most of you have, too. What I did not realize at the time, however, was how many life lessons running would teach me. Interestingly enough, the challenges, gifts and accomplishments we find in running parallel our everyday lives. Here are some lessons we can all learn about life from running.

Prepare, then go with the flow.

This lesson is essential when it comes time to taper after training for months. Many runners freak out during the taper period, fearing they haven’t done enough. As is the case with most things in life, if we put in our time and prepare well, we need to find comfort in the fact that we’ve done what we can. Then we need to let it go.

Patience is a virtue.

If you have ever been an injured runner, then you know that you have no choice but to be patient with your body. You cannot rush an injury, and if you do, you will sabotage yourself. Patience is a quality that serves us well in all areas of our lives. If we learn to let go and sit back when we really want to be impulsive and crazy, good things come.

However good or bad a situation, it will change.

Running has as many ups and downs as life. One day your run is spectacular, and the next day it sucks beyond belief. Throughout the span of a longer race such as a marathon, you will encounter aches, pains, cramps and emotional highs and lows that tend to pass. Throughout life, as throughout running, we can take comfort in the fact that when things are rough, they will get better. And we are realistic in that when things are wonderful, we will once again be challenged.

Sometimes the only thing holding you back is your mind.

Nothing is truer for runners than how much impact the mind has on the body’s ability to perform. As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” Take the risk. Push that extra mile. Believe it can happen and it just might.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

In this day and age, and especially with the barrage of social media, it has become instantaneously easy to compare ourselves to others. As runners, we do this too. All that comparison does is make us feel worse or superior in a way that’s not healthy. Just know that there will always be someone faster than you and someone slower than you. In life, your mission is to live up to your own potential.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

One of the best life lessons I have ever learned is to laugh at myself. Most of the time, we are much harder on ourselves than anyone is on us. In life, as with our running, if we can learn to ease up on ourselves a bit and enjoy the journey more, we will certainly find greater satisfaction and happiness.

From PodiumRunner Lead Photo: Getty Images

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