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What Running Has Taught Me
the clique article all running content creators must do
If you get into running and watch other videos or read blogs, you will inevitably find a video or blog titled something like “What Running Has Taught Me” or “Why I Run?” or “What Running Does for Me”
I figured if I wanted to be respected in the running content creator community, I needed to do one too, haha!
In all reality, this article doesn’t come from peer pressure but has actually been on my mind to talk about for a while.
So here we go.
I started running when I was about 1 year old.
But that’s not the kind of running I’m talking about. We all ran as children and then society and culture stifles the joy of running inside of us.
There are 10 times more signs that say “Don’t Run” than say “Run.”
In fact, I’ve never seen a sign that tells people to run or to enjoy running.
Honestly…that’s why I think so many people hate running, but we’ll save that for another conversation.
I will say that when you get older, running takes a different form. You stop running for fun and start running for some form of exercise or training.
What is the differentiator? I think the biggest difference is that when you begin using running for training, you begin tracking the miles.
When I Began Tracking the Miles
For me, I started running for training when I was about 14 or 15. I didn’t run cross country or track. But I did do a lot of karate.
And as I started training for my black belt test, I started incorporating some running into my training regimen.
I can still remember building up to run 3 miles. It felt impossible, but when I finally broke the mark it was one of the greatest feelings of accomplishment!
But back then, running still wasn’t fun, though. It was just something I had to do.
When Running Became “Fun”?
Fast forward to today and my relationship with running has taken a drastic shift.
I’m still running for training, but this time I’m training for a run.
I first got the idea of running a marathon in college. I thought it would be a cool goal to run one before I graduated.
However, senior year came around and the most I’d ever run was 6 miles, and that was mainly because I ran to this river in Barcelona and was forced to run all the way back. I had no idea what the distance was. And I also walked a good bit on the way back.
So senior year rolls around and I decided to downgrade that goal to a half-marathon. Still a very worthy goal.
I remember training with my roommate at the time, who did cross country growing up. During races and in practice they weren’t allowed to listen to music!
That blew my mind. I thought those kinds of people were crazy.
Becoming a Crazy Person
But let me tell you…whoever his coach was had it right. I started running my easy runs without music and it’s not as crazy as you may think.
Running all of a sudden can become this really cool spiritual experience. It’s not just a grueling workout anymore.
This realization came because of 2 things actually:
I changed my training so that instead of running as fast and hard as possible every single run, 80% of my miles are at a slower pace.
I run those slower-paced miles without music.
When you run slower, it’s not as hard, but you’re still getting the training in. After a while, as crazy as it seems, you don’t dread running as much.
Running becomes refreshing, you feel great when you get home, and the actual run is serene.
Why I Run
One of the biggest reasons I love running is that running is so simple. You only have to do one thing: run.
When you are at the gym, there are tons of ways to get distracted, sell yourself short, or even just leave.
But when you are on a run (especially an out-and-back run), that’s it. It’s just you and the road, sidewalk, or trail.
The best productivity tool I’ve discovered in life is to focus on one single task at a time, complete it, and then move on.
The amount of time you waste going between different tasks and context-switching is exhausting.
My problem, however, is I have a really hard time focusing on just one thing at a time. I constantly think of all the other things I need to do. It only gets worse if the current task is boring or difficult.
Running, however, is different.
When I’m on a run, that is the single task I need to do. It takes zero mental effort, and once you get the routine in, even easy runs aren’t a huge physical effort.
There is nothing else I could be doing. The run itself is productive, it’s good for my body. It’s not like vegging out on YouTube where I feel this guilt in the back of my head that there is something better I should be doing with my time.
Running is a good use of time!
It also helps clear my head…or more so, it helps me organize the thoughts that are already in my head.
If I have a problem at work, I often get some of my best ideas when I’m out on a run!
The Newest Revelation
But lately, when I started running unplugged from music, the experience has gone even further.
My mind wanders and has some of my most creative ideas and inspiration.
But it also gives me an amazing time to just pray to God.
A lot of times I’m running down this beautiful road in the mountains. It’s filled with rolling green hills, streams and creeks everywhere, cows and birds all over the place, and in the horizon is the constant view of the blue ridge mountains.
One thing that brings me closer to God is nature, so running through that scenery with very few cars or sounds from the world is the perfect place to just pray.
There is also nothing else to distract me.
Even sitting still on our serene deck can distract me because I’m not moving. But when I’m on a run, I’m constantly moving, seeing different things to be thankful for.
It is so wonderful!
So, in close, running has taught me a lot!
It’s teaching me to be better at focusing on one task at a time.
It’s taught me that running can actually be enjoyable again like when we were children.
It’s taught me that you don’t need music and that the sounds of nature and your own footsteps are sometimes the best noises to relax you.
It’s taught me that running is also the perfect time to pray and be thankful for everything; especially the legs and body that gives me the ability to go on that run.
What is your relationship with running? Do you hate it? Do you miss it? Do you love it too?