Running is in fashion. Just look around, and you’ll realize streets are crowded by people passing by you in those shiny wet clothes, smiling and drinking something too sweet to be healthy…
I have to confess that I am a runner, and a proud one, and running has taught me some useful lessons, not just to have better runs, but also to have a better life. So maybe you are a runner or maybe not, but in any case there are many useful lessons that can be learnt from this mass sport, in order to live a better life. Here you are 10 of them:
1. You don’t need anything to start running
Well, maybe sport shoes; it doesn’t look comfortable at all to run on stiletto heels… But if you actually want to run, ok, just do it.
As an entrepreneur, sometimes I’ve been wandering about the potential success of a business plan. And the only real way to proof it will be successful is to start it. So go outside and run; it’s easier and cheaper than you think!
2. The good news comes at the end
During a long run, let’s say, 10K or more, some people start at a very fast pace, just to discover any sign of strength is out of their body by the mid-race. So start quietly, focus on the end, on the final reward – refreshments, your family greeting, or whatever makes you feel good. And keep going. At the end of the day, do you want to go fast, or do you prefer reaching far destinations?
3. Listen to your body
You think you can cope with everything, don’t you? Business, family, friends, social life… and after a while, your body starts complaining and you feel back pain, or maybe some headaches now and then. Runners listen to their body, and slow down if necessary. Your body speaks –sometimes very loud- so listen to it before it is too late.
4. Talk to your body
Have you ever asked your hips to help you in a race, once you notice your legs are tired? This is one of the greatest lessons you can learn from running: your body listens to you. Once you tell it why you are running and what you are running for, maybe it will accept some extra workload. It is just a dialog between you and your body, in which every part becomes aware of other’s needs and wishes. Maybe then you will realize your body is more skilled than what you think, and it is able to reach what looked like unreachable.
Have you ever asked someone for a little help at work? Most of the times, it works!
5. Enjoy your accomplishments
Running, and life in general, is too demanding itself, so we’d better don’t add extra demands. Did you run one mile? Very good! Enjoy it, and then go for the next one.
Runners that only look at how many miles away is the finish line, will hardly reach it. So celebrate, and keep going.
6. Keep away from addictions
I’m not talking about substances, either legal or not, but the addiction to run. Runners feel good while running, so they could be tempted to run more and more. But life is something else. For example, not running.
Are you a runaholic? (Or a workaholic, or a partyholic) take a deep breath and relax. Just in case.
7. You can enjoy on your own and in a group
Running can be played alone. It is only you and the path. It is one of the best moments to be aware of your best self, celebrating life. My best ideas pop while running alone, since my mind is free to ramble and explore new ways.
And running can also be played in group. This is a very good opportunity to adapt your performance to others’, to ask for help if needed and, of course, to bring some words of encouragement to the most tired runners. While running with others, I have discovered I can enjoy the run at more than 11 minutes per mile, and at less than seven. Groups helped me discover I can change and keep enjoying.
8. The challenge is not against anything
You don’t need to beat the time. You don’t need to beat your friend. It is not against the world. Running is just the opposite: you take your skills, put them into practice, and results come alone. Want to run? Then enjoy it. Make yours the Olympic motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (Faster, Higher, Stronger) and drive your run. Celebrate your accomplishments and do not forget to celebrate your eventual underperformance, because it is a sign that you are a real human being, not just a running machine.
9. Setting goals improves performance
Sometimes it is good to “just run”, but setting clear goals helps you track your performance and, thus, celebrate your achievements. Take into account that a goal must be SMART enough (that is, Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bounded) in order to be effective. “To finish a Marathon after a sixteen-week plan” could be a goal, while “To be the best runner” is not. At all.
And, of course, do not forget to make your goals public, so that everyone around can support you. Please, do avoid
10. Image comes after functionality
Whether you are a fashion victim or not, function comes first for running items. Do you need a new pair of running shoes? Try at least ten pairs, and choose the most comfortable ones. Then, if you like, ask for color possibilities.
A race is not a parade –though sometimes it may look like- and you should be aware even a pretty shirt could make you suffer during a run, so remember what you are asking for when going to the mall. Of course I am not saying image is not important. I love when my wife says “you are looking good in these pants!” but purpose is more important than that. As in real life.
I hope some of these 10 lessons help you have better runs, and a better life. Do you have some more lessons to be learned? Would you like to share them? I look forward reading them!
Featured photo credit: Marathon Style / Michael Villanueva via farm3.staticflickr.com