I’ve been running for pleasure and stress release since junior high — except for a multiyear hiatus after I completed a full marathon. I’ve found a lot of life lessons through running. Here are five:
1. Sometimes you get hurt and have to heal.
If you’ve ever suffered any kind of physical injury, you know the healing process can’t be rushed. It takes time. We get hurt mentally and emotionally, too, and those wounds are slow to heal as well. Attempting to push through the pain and get back to normalcy quicker only results in further postponement.
2. You might encounter thorns.
Just as thorns and barbs grab onto my running shoes, they figuratively attach to me when I come across toxic people or needlessly put myself in unpleasant circumstances. If I allow those barbs to take hold, they weigh me down. I have to excise them for optimal results.
3. You will have to climb hills.
Running in the Valley of the Sun, I don’t come across many hills. My big incline is running up the freeway overpass and then down the other side — only to have to do it again on the return trip. But that doesn’t negate the fact that we face challenges and uphill battles in life. It’s part of the journey. We can try to avoid them, but then we end up stagnating rather than growing.
4. For best results, look forward.
While running, if I take time to look behind me, I tend to slow down to avoid falling or encountering some obstacle in front of me. If I move my head to look to the right or left, I get the same results. But when I keep my eyes focused ahead of me, the run is more enjoyable and the trek is easier.
5. You can always give a little more.
At the end of a run, I dig deep and find a little more energy to expend. If I were to give that much throughout the run, I wouldn’t have anything left at the end. But I get a sense of accomplishment by being able to pick up a little speed as I cross my self-imposed finish line. When you’re in the middle of a big project and grow weary, it’s important to find that extra oomph within to help you get over the hump and finish. You’ll be glad you did.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"