It’s a divisive issue, running. You hate it or you love it. At the mere utterance of the word you do one of two things:
The thing is, distance running and road races are not necessarily everyone’s game. You might think you don’t have a “runner’s body,” that your endurance is too low to run longer than a quarter of a mile, or even that it’s going to tear up your knees.
While there may be some kernels of truth to each of these notions, they aren’t all accurate. And they definitely shouldn’t stop you from hitting the road to log a few miles, or minutes, of the world’s oldest form of cardio.
That’s because running offers benefits that extend far beyond the physical. It doesn’t just make you a better athlete, running makes you a better person. Promise.
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Four Ways Running Makes You a Better Person
You may not know whether you can actually run two miles the first time you try, but you set a goal, so today you’re going to find out if you can make it happen. Undertaking challenges with truly unpredictable outcomes and succeeding at them can inspire you to be more adventurous in other areas of life. Running takes you out of your mental safe zone and pushes your boundaries, which is, ultimately, the only way you make progress in life.
This is a term I made up completely, so let me elaborate. If physical strength is the power of your body during a run, and mental strength is having the willpower to get out there in the first place, we could say soul strength is the ability to constantly keep in mind the reason you’re doing it.
You could define this as the ability to keep your reasons for wanting to achieve said goals in mind even when the going gets tough. Gumption, is that still a word? It’s gumption.
To me, soul strength needs to be summoned when it’s a rainy day and I don’t want to run any errands, but I know I need to. It’s the ability to get through the shitty part of your week knowing Saturday and Sunday are on the other side. It’s positivity. It’s putting on pants because it’s Wednesday and not getting fired is important. Not fun, but important, and because of soul strength, you’re still employed.
Thanks, soul strength!
Plenty of people might tell you to concentrate on getting the run over with, but I have to suggest the opposite. Learn to love the time spent by yourself, meditating on a decision you have to make, repeating positive phrases to yourself, or generally rocking the f*ck out of a new pair of workout shorts.
Running for any length of time while you’re meditating on how much you’d rather be anywhere else is counterproductive and prevents you from developing real-life patience for things like, oh, I don’t know, annoying co-workers or kids? Literally pick anything you have to deal with, sprinkle some Patience Dust on it and it will get better. Calming the eagerness you feel to just finish this seven-miler already translates beautifully into the real world.
I feel like I am a better, more productive worker since I started running. Think about it: both work and running require you to do something you probably don’t want to do at inopportune times (very early in the morning, late at night, whenever you could be napping instead,) and do it well.
You’d be surprised how often I draw on the strength I found while pushing my body to its limits in situations that require me to write a few words or reply to emails. You’re a lot more disciplined when you have experience dominating an activity that you didn’t want to do in the first place, and work might get easier because of it.
Are you thinking about hopping on the treadmill yet? If you’re not convinced, make a point to keep these four concepts in the back of your mind the next time you go out for a jog, and then tell me you don’t agree. My two cents: I’ve never regretted a run I’ve gone on, but I always regret the ones that don’t happen.