***This post is part of Take It and Run Thursday over at Runner's Lounge.
I very purposefully named this blog Life is a Marathon because of my recognition that running has taught me many valuable life lessons. Marathon runners have heart. Not to sound conceited or anything, but we're tough as nails, self-motivated and self-disciplined. Oh yeah - it also takes a lot of self-control to train for a marathon.
All of these traits can be transferred to everything else that we do in our lives. I have found that running, only second to my faith, has taught me more about the way I want to live my life than almost anything else.
A few lessons:
Role models: They're important. We all have them. For me, my first running example was my high school cross country and track coach. He constantly reminded me that being the best isn't as important as doing MY best. I'm probably not ever going to win a marathon, but I CAN get out there and reach my goals. Other runners that I've never met have the same effect on me. When I read about the things that other runners (whether elite athletes or fellow bloggers) are accomplishing, it gets me excited and all the more motivated to go out there and reach my goals.
My running role models have taught me that life, just like marathon training, can be tough. We have to encourage each other to keep getting out there and doing our very best at whatever endeavors we take on in life. We must dream big, set goals, and then go after them.
Training Runs: Sometimes they rock! Sometimes they seem to last forever and cause every inch of my body to ache. To me, training runs are a lot like the ups and downs of our lives. We have good days and bad days. It's how we deal with them that matters. My body may be begging me to stop running, and some days I have to just keep pushing through. Life, just like most runs, must go on or else we never develop our strength and overcome weakness.
At the same time, sometimes you have to stop. Sometimes you need an extra rest day. In life, sometimes we can get overwhelmed and fatigued by our daily schedules. Every now and then we have to take a break from it all and spend some time doing something just for us. For me, I might just need a nap or a phone call with a good friend to reenergize and feel ready again to tackle my daily obligations.
Races: Runners often set goals for races. We're ecstatic when we meet them at the finish line, and we're often disheartened if we don't. The thing I've noticed that seems to be consistent among most runners is that when we don't meet those goals, we pick a new race and try again.
Life should be the same way. We need to know what we want to accomplish with this gift of life we've been given. We have to work hard to try to reach those goals. If ultimately we reach them, we should celebrate. If not, we should try again.
A few other lessons?
Running keeps you healthy, and when you're healthy you can enjoy the rest of your life better.
Running makes you passionate. You don't spend weekends doing long runs without having some sort of a passion for running (most days anyways, ha!). We should do the things we're passionate about and put our hearts into those things. When you know how to commit to running, then you can know how to commit to your other passions.
Running can give you a good reason to eat a little extra dessert from time to time and to splurge a bit on that killer dress that shows off your running legs. (This kind of self-confidence and positive body image definitely carries over in your life).
Most of all? Running for me is fun. In life, we should always make sure we do things for ourselves that are fun. If we don't then we take the risk of wasting our lives slaving away and never finding the beauty in each day that we have been given.
Happy running and living!