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Lessons I've Learned from Running

As of this publication, I have run at least a mile every day for 3092 days. Yes, I have run Every. Single. Day. I’ve run in some weird places (hallways of hotels, airport terminals, the walkway of my parents’ condo building in the pouring rain) and some fabulous ones (the Grand Canyon, New Zealand, the beach where I live). I’ve run in every imaginable kind of weather, and I will keep up my running streak as long as my body will allow me.

I played sports as a kid, and during that time, I learned about teamwork and patience and hard effort. I learned about commitment and wins and losses, and I’ve carried that teaching throughout my life and my career. Becoming a runner has reinforced those lessons, and it has opened my world in a way I never would have dreamed possible. Running every day for the last 8+ years and with the help of incredible coaches, I have received a completely different kind of education. Allow me to share:

Perseverance, not perfection. I’m not fast. I’m never going to be an elite runner, and I probably won’t ever win a race. Still, I run because it keeps my body and brain healthy. On days when the bed is warm and the weather is cold, I get up and continue my streak because it inspires others. When I’m tired or stressed, when I want to quit in the middle, when I’m frustrated with my progress, I keep going because despite the doubt, I know I can, and not ever once have I regretted moving forward.

Embrace your weaknesses. My form, foot strike, and turnover aren’t great. I’m sure I could drive my arms a little harder. I lose focus and sometimes question whether I can finish. None of these are bad things. They provide opportunities to improve. While I know I’m never going to be perfect, they give me something to strive for.

Be where you are right now. I ran my first marathon in Dublin in 2003, and to say that a lot has changed since then is a major understatement. I’m not the same person I was then, personally or professionally. On the flip side, I have goals that I haven’t accomplished yet. I’m also not who I’ll be a year from now or five years from now. I am this person, today, and I must accept and embrace who I am right now. I can learn from my past and plan for my future, but I’m not in either of those places. I am here, now, and I own who I am at this moment.

You are capable of more than you think. I have tags on my shoelaces that say, “when your legs get tired, run with your heart.” In the middle of a run when my brain tells me I’m done, that it’s too humid, that it’s okay to quit, I have to turn that negative voice off and listen to my body. Often, my mind will want to stop before I physically need to. In those moments, I must pay attention to what’s really going on, and I let go of the superficial noise that invades my space.

As a side note, you don’t really need all your toenails, and whoever invented Body Glide is a genius. #iykyk 😀

Most importantly as Coach Bennett on the Nike Run Club app often says, “this is about running. And this is not about running.”

woman running on the beach


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