Running can change you. It can reveal things to you that you had previously only wished about yourself. Many people are intimidated by running due to the level of discomfort and pain that new runners can experience. If you’ve never been an athlete before, it’s likely you’ve only run a mile during your P.E. evaluations during intermediate school. Running is a mental sport as much as it is a physical one and it requires discipline. Your body will scream at you to stop. When running, you are utterly at odds with yourself — your vessel vs. your mind. As such, running can build up your confidence and self-esteem as you traverse the roads ahead.
Running can teach you who you are
Through the vigor and intensity that running promotes, we can learn new things about ourselves and how we handle stress. Learning to breathe through our body’s natural response (panic) can lead us to a place of joy and accomplishment.
Destroy your assumed limitations
We are constantly putting limitations on ourselves and each other through negative self-talk and criticisms. Running allows us to push past those limitations and realize the truth, that we are limitless in what we can undertake. Running is a lesson in perseverance.
Deal with your failures in a healthy way
Like anything in life, you will fail. You will not have your heart fully in the moment and you will quit. You will trip on an untied shoe, wear shorts that are too short, or eat the wrong breakfast and as a result, your run will suffer. Running helps us to learn to accept our failures and to try again the next day. Each extra inch we go is a milestone to celebrate and we will always improve if we stick with it.
Witness your own evolution
Perhaps the most profound experience when taking on running for the first time is self-evolution. You will experience a sense of completion and accomplishment that you never thought possible. As someone who has never run more than a mile or two, your first 5k, 10k, or half-marathon will likely have you in tears. Completing a goal like a race will open all possibilities in your life. You will realize that the people around you that seem to be winning in life are simply the ones that show up, day in and day out, to learn, grow, and succeed.
Have you experienced joy through running or has a physical activity changed your emotional relationship with yourself? Share your story in the comments below!