Running and life have similar obstacles. They also have similar rewards.
My friend says that the mindset needed to push through sore legs and shortness of breath while running is incredibly relatable to the one needed to brush off worries in every day life. Here’s what I mean.
Running reminds you that pain sucks, but that it shouldn’t be avoided or feared.
When you push through a difficult stretch in your run your body will reward you with increased blood flow to your limbs and brain. This increased flow of blood produces the runner’s high that so many people become addicted to. My friend and I talked about this high during our run the other day. We both agreed that this high not only releases itself while you’re running, but also randomly throughout days following a run. This is not a scientifically based finding. It’s just what we chatted about while we ran up a hill.
I describe the runner’s high as causing a rush of clarity to my mind, vivid vision, satisfying breaths and increased awareness of the complexity and functionality of my body. Again, this is just me talking from what I’ve found. You might see unicorns jump over rainbows when you run and good for you.
This high keeps us wanting to run. And with running, as in life, we need some encouragement to trudge forward.
Often times, in the midst of despair, healthy perception will be abandoned for lesser interpretations of life around you. Despair might feel like you’re standing at the bottom of a mountain, exhausted by the knowledge that your destination is the top. Sometimes passing out on the trail seems a better option. You’ve given up on runs before. These past memories begin to shadow your present perception. Failure to finish your run usually happens when you allow yourself to justify weakness and compromise. Once you’ve decided in your mind that it’s not worth it then your whole body will soon follow suit. It’s at this point that you’re standing in the middle of nowhere, neither at the beginning or end of anything, simply scratching your sorry ass. The pain endured while finishing the run wouldn’t have killed you, but sure you told yourself you were dying. Transformational pain was avoided, a lie was believed, and you are still at the bottom of the mountain.
The mind is a powerful, powerful thing. It’s both the gas and the brakes for a run, for a dream, and for hope.
Running helps keep your mind in check.
For some reason our minds try to sabotage us with lies that make us weak and ultimately less alive. While running you’ll think about all sorts of things. Swirling within all of these thoughts are some that prove detrimental to the success of a run. These thoughts involve food, walking, stopping early and the like. It seems like when you’re trying to do good by running something bad surfaces to try to prevent this good from happening. What’s strange is that this “bad something” always comes from within ourselves.
When you run you have to filter out the thoughts that will hinder you along your way. For example, thinking about cold beer during a hot run won’t help you run better. You’ve got to think more long-term about the benefits of putting your body through the pain. You have to think about how it leads to better health, more energy, and a body capable of scaling mountains.
You have to think strong to be strong. If you’re weak in your thinking it’ll show in your living. And why do we live in weakness?...I think it’s to avoid pain. We’re afraid of how much hurt it’ll take to become strong. And fear stops us from ever feeling this hurt. What’s amazing is that while you’re enduring the pain it’s then that you realize how strong you really are! We can endure much more than our minds tell us we can. When we accept life with its pain we are actually embracing more life. Pain and life are more alike than our weak minds would care to admit.
Another friend of mine told me that she used to fear running because she didn’t want to fail. Her fear kept her from finding out that she was strong to bear the pain. Her fear was stopping her from having a better life.
The challenges involved in running greatly parallel those in life. You might not know running, but I know you know pain. What I don’t know is how you view your pain. And I also don’t know how your pain has caused you to misperceive the world around you. All I know is that I get the best perspective from the top of the mountain. This view is only available after a difficult climb. With shortness of breath, and sore legs the view from the mountaintop gives me life in more ways than I’d anticipated.