I was never one of those people born into running. You know what I’m talking about, the “runners” who started so early as they could walk. On the contrary, I started running later in life, by my early 30s. And because I had worked out regularly, I thought it wouldn’t be so hard. I’m already fit and active, right? Wrong! It was a lot harder than what I’d imagined it’d be. But mind you, it has been worth all the sweat.
I have actually come to realize that there is more to running than running.
During my runs and while I pushed myself vigorously to my “finish lines”, in what I now think were attempts to distract my mind from what the body was going through, I have often contemplated on how the process resembled our everyday life.
Here’s how I believe it does:
Get your mind prepared first: Our minds are very powerful tools. It’s either we run our minds or they run us. Take control over your mind and let it tell your body what to do. It’s like Osho puts it in his book title: “The Mind: a beautiful servant, a dangerous master”.
Take the first step: Whether it’s an early morning run where I have to get up at 5 am or late evening run where I am already exhausted from a long work day, I just talk myself into making it to the start line and the finish line will be a consequence. We all have a project (or many) lying around that we want to start and have been postponing since forever for no obvious reason. You just need to get started. You can never finish something that you’ve never started, can you?
Keep going: Especially when I’m pushing myself to do more either a longer distance or a faster pace, I often find it very challenging to keep going till the end. I never stop though, even if I’m only walking, I just keep going. Don’t give up on something you have started when you are passionate about it just because you are tired. You can always slow down but never quit. The outcome will be truly rewarding.
Challenge yourself: When I first started running I never thought I could go that far, I never thought I could keep it up and would want to achieve more even when I’m tired. Whenever I become comfortable with a certain distance, I want to do more. And even though I almost always question my ability to do it, the way I feel after I actually get there is indescribable. We always underestimate our capabilities and what we can achieve.
Keep working on the process and the technique: There is always room to improve. Just as you can work on your running technique, posture or breathing, you can copy this to pretty much everything else you do. What is it that you do? Cooking? You can find ways to cook faster/ better. Is it reading? You can aim to speed it up. You name it, whatever it is, you can do it better.
Enjoy your path: Even when you are struggling to make it to the finish line, enjoy your route. I have often found that through any experience we go through, the journey is more important than the destination. The people you meet and the “adventures” you go through; these are the things that make it all worthwhile.
It’s always hardest to run that last mile: And that’s exactly when you need to keep going the most because this is when you are closest to your finish line.
Together you go farther: Running with a friend, partner, neighbor or anyone can be quite motivating. It pushes you to keep going even when all you can think of is quitting. It has always worked for me and not just in running. When was the last time you were lifted by a good friend?
Running has added much life and perspective to me. The challenge, the liveliness, the delayed gratification, proving to myself time and again that I can go beyond my own-made limits.
Originally published at medium.com