Running Life Lessons

Navigational Art
Navigational Art By Colleen Yorke, © 2015.
Running is hard to explain. Yes, it hurts. Yes, it is one of the best feelings in the world. Somehow that makes sense . . . if you are a runner.  Running has taught me many important lessons, which apply to other areas of life as well.

About a year and a half ago, I had no idea what I was about to get myself into.  Important, conclusive numbers such as pace, mileage, even heart beats, that I work with now, were wild guesstimates. Why would it be important to know our maximum heart rate? The turnovers per minute the foot strikes the ground? The pace per mile? Serious running requires a little bit of planning. We do not want to end up nine miles out, because we ran too fast or too far. We want to shape up and step our overall running performance.  

One of the great things about running is that it does not require special skills or coaching to perfect. Run by run we learn and discover more about ourselves. Our body is a wonderland of muscles and organs, such as the heart, and fairly adaptable. We have physiological limits of course, and over-stretching these likely will not improve our performance, but rather deteriorate it. Exceeding our tempo pace is short-fused, there is only so much further we can run before our steam blows out. So we want to hold off that sprint until the very end.  Likewise, tightening of muscles and pangs of pains are not to be taken lightly. While it can be understandably frustrating to have to abandon a run, it is not a sign of weakness, but of strength to do so. As Samuel Beckett so aptly put it: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." Like with everything else, running improves gradually.

Distance is conquered one mile at a time, and it takes discipline, dedication, consistency and humility. Running a marathon is one of the greatest feelings in the world, and one of the worst. But, those 1% of us, who do run the race for a medal and a T-shirt, know crossing that finish line means everything. Not giving up, even when we are going to hell, builds stamina for other areas of our lives as well. Life is not easy, through trial and error we learn, we grow, and we realize that sometimes it takes 100,001 attempts to get it "right".