Running teaches us about life. When you first start running you hit a point of exhaustion and you believe that it is a signal telling you it is time to stop. Later you discover that this is not necessarily the case. Instead, you learn how to push through that exhaustion in a special way. It is effort without aggression. A kind of pushing where you let go and compel yourself to continue at the same time. We do this because we know that there is a unique reward in doing so. On the other side of that effort there is a tremendous feeling of aliveness.
That aliveness, while not unique to running, is something you find difficult to go without once you have a taste of it. You seek it out in other ways. You find that you can experience aliveness through doing great things and realizing significant accomplishments.
The same lessons you practice to get that aliveness in running will help you find that aliveness elsewhere.
Discipline—There will be days when you don’t want to go and moments when you feel you can’t go on, but you persevere. This is part of life. This is how we establish ourselves as people of fortitude and strength.
Opening Your Mind—It’s not about how much you have left to go. It’s not about getting through it. It’s not about whether or not you have enough left in you to make it. It’s about the moment. It’s about the run.
Finding Your Rhythm—This is not a competition. It’s about discovering who you are and how you most effectively operate. You have a rhythm that best suits you and when you find it, you experience life’s flow.
Breathe, Relax, and Work—As you find your rhythm and flow, the effort you give will become effortless. Certainly there will be times when there is pain and frustration, but once you learn the location of your center, you will always—eventually—be able to return to it.
Positive Energy Creates Positive Results—A smile from another runner or feeling gratitude for the way the rising sun hits water can carry you through. It’s a remarkable thing, and you need only let it happen.
Runners love running like human beings love accomplishing. Running gets you from your origin to your destination with will and determination. The better you get at running, the more natural it feels. Your body, the way you move, how you think and breathe, it all begins to accommodate your actions, as if everything around you is begins to understand the kind of person you are and what you are capable of. Yet running is just a part of living. It may serve as an analogy for life and even prepare you for certain aspects of life, but the struggles of life are vastly greater and the rewards immeasurably finer.