My family recently took a trip to Washington, D.C., for a long weekend.
Hands down, my absolute favorite part of the trip was running through our nation’s capitol.
I basked in the elegance of the White House, gazed up at the Washington Monument as I passed by, and scaled the steps to the Lincoln Memorial. Then, on an adventurous whim, I decided to follow the signs to Arlington National Cemetery. I had no idea how far it was or even how to get there. But that’s what made it fun! I breezed over the Memorial Bridge spanning the Potomac and arrived at Arlington a mile later completely exhilarated.
All of you new or non-runners are probably rolling your eyes right now and thinking I must be delusional.
Up until a few years ago I would have completely agreed with you. I started running shortly after my oldest child was born as way to get back in shape. I HATED it. I only continued to run because I felt that if I was going to spend 30 minutes exercising, I wanted the biggest bang for my buck. Plus I could run at any time, in any place, and I could bring my little one(s) along if I needed to. For several years I viewed running only as a chore or a necessary workout. Then something shifted. I started to notice how running had changed me, and I actually enjoyed it!
Here are 5 secrets I have uncovered as a runner, that I hope will motivate you to try it!
Running Makes You Confident
Running has given me more confidence and a sense of adventure. I’m not sure that I would have gone for a run through an unfamiliar city 8 years ago. I’m also not sure that I would have flown across the world with two young children in tow. But I did both of those things, more than once! With each race I train for, I gain more and more confidence in my ability to tackle hard things. And hard things actually begin to sound like new adventures that I cannot wait to begin.
Running Brings a Feeling of Accomplishment
Running has shown my kids how to set a goal and work hard to achieve it. One of my children does not like to do anything challenging. If he cannot succeed immediately, he wants nothing to do with it. Now when a challenge arises, I am able talk to him about how hard it is to train for a half marathon, triathlon, and now my first (and only) marathon. I can empathize with him about doing hard things, and also speak from experience about the sense of accomplishment you feel when you have achieved your goal.
Running Teaches You How to Persevere
Training has taught me to be tough and persevere even when it’s hard. Has there ever been a day that I’ve woken up thinking, “I can’t wait to spend the next two hours running!” No! Have I ever completed a long run without once thinking “I want to quit!” No! Absolutely not. But I do it anyway, because I have learned how to persevere. And this discipline does not dwell just in the running realm.
When life throws challenges in my path, I persevere. I have learned to simply put one foot in front of the other and keep pressing on to the end.
Running Gives You Guilt-Free Mommy Time
Let’s be honest. Moms barely get time alone to shower, not to mention read a book or collect our thoughts for half a second. When I run, I enjoy a large chunk of time BY MYSELF. I listen to audio books, podcasts, and actual grown-up music! I can think, process, and learn things (lately I’ve been re-learning American history). Sometimes I even write my blog posts in my head during a run! You guys, it’s like guilt-free mommy time because you are exercising and no one will tell you that’s not important.
Running Teaches Your Kids Valuable Life Lessons
Running has actually taught my kids a lot about life. They see the ways running has shaped me, and those same traits are growing in them too. They know to prioritize health and exercise. They witness perseverance. They understand how to set a goal and develop a plan to accomplish it. And even though they do not always like it, they realize that sometimes Mommy comes first.