I always thought that running long distances is meant for professional runners, and it needs a lot of training. It does require practice, but anyone can train to achieve their running goals. All you need to get started is a good pair of running shoes and the willingness to keep moving.
I am an occasional runner. I run short distances whenever I feel and sometimes even when I don’t feel motivated enough. My curiosity to know if I could push past my limits and run a 10K made me register for the “10 for Grete” Oslo marathon. With about a month and a half in hand, I thought there was enough time to train and level up my fitness.
I was apprehensive before the run because it was my first long-distance run, and to be honest, I hadn’t trained as much as I had thought I would.
Here are 6 powerful life lessons running a 10K taught me:
1. It’s all in the mind
“If you want to do what you have never done before,
if you want to have what you have never had before,
if you want to be what you have never been before, change your mentality.”
We have a lot of fears and personal doubts. Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it and have a positive attitude. It’s how you train your brain and are ready to push your limits.
“Running is more about your mind than your legs.”
You’ll hit obstacles. You’ll want to quit. You’ll feel that the entire pursuit isn’t worth it. Believe me! If you keep running despite wanting to give up, you will reach your goal and never look back again.
“You are stronger than you think.”
Remember the story about the rabbit and the turtle? The turtle won the race not because he was fast but because he kept going at his own pace.
“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”
When I ran 10K, my goal was to outperform myself, set new personal records, and complete the race. I was not competing with others but with myself. That kept me going.
4. It sets you free
I felt energized after the run, basking in euphoria and satisfaction. I felt like I am capable of achieving even greater distances.
“You get more energy than you give to it.”
You feel free to go out in the world and accomplish anything, no matter how difficult it might seem at first.
5. Enjoy the journey
Running is a journey. I run to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, breathe deeply, feel my heartbeat, and live in the moment. It makes me feel alive.
Running is a social phenomenon. The crowd cheering you, the feeling of being connected with other runners as everyone wants to reach the same goal, the positive vibes, and more. You can’t feel anything less than being pumped up.
6. Keep raising the bar
Finally, don’t settle. Keep aspiring for greater heights. My next goal is to improve my timing for 10K and to run a half marathon.
Have you heard about Harriette Thompson, a 94-year woman who set a record of the oldest woman to complete a half marathon and a full marathon? She was a cancer survivor and took up running when she was 76 years old. That is just mind-blowing!
If she can do it, you can too. All you need is courage and grit. Growth starts beyond your comfort zone.
What about you? Have you ever run a 5K, 10K, half, or full marathon? What were your challenges? What did you learn from the experience? Do share with me in the comments below.