4 Lessons that Running Has Taught Me

When I began my running journey, I wanted to fall on the sidewalk and melt into the crevices. I hated it. I was uncomfortable, I couldn’t breathe, my legs hurt. I thought, “why the hell do people do this on purpose?” My, how my perspective has changed.

Here goes my tomatoes analogy…

Has this ever happened to you? You aren’t in love with a certain food, but you just eat it anyway, and keep eating it, and eventually love it? Like tomatoes. I used to dislike tomatoes. I mean, I could stomach them, but they weren’t something I craved. Now, I crave tomato salads sprinkled with salt and pepper, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and topped with fresh basil. Just like my relationship with running. I hated it, but I kept going. And now, I run with a purpose. I run for accomplishment, to free my mind and inspire myself. And along this journey, I have gained values and learned invaluable lessons. These are a few…

4 Lessons Running Has Taught Me

disconnecting is important

When I run, I am away from all worries, anxieties, and pressures. I am not checking my e-mail, responding to a text or answering a phone call. I do so much of this for 50+ hours a week, that the miles I run are crucial and force me to disconnect from the world. I do have my phone with me, solely to provide my soundtrack. I don’t have anyone telling me where to run, how far to run, how fast to run. I am purely letting go of the restrictions I face on a daily basis, using this outlet I have called the open road, to exercise my freedom (no pun intended). Running allows you to escape, whether it’s for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour or more. You are away, mentally and physically, and that’s a great thing.

how to persevere

Despite how far I have come in my running journey, I still have days where I do want to melt into the pavement. Sometimes I have a stabbing side cramp that only goes away when I stop. There are days where I can feel the blister forming on my toe and would love nothing more than to stop, rip my shoe off and place my foot into a tub of cold water. Much like trials we face in our lives, you must keep going. I chant this phrase in my head when all I want to do is quit: “Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done”. Running has certainly taught me how to persevere when the going gets tough.

[Tweet “Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done #run”]

how to respect my limits

By the same token, we each have our own individual limits that we must respect. I’ve experienced the repercussions of ignoring those limits, first-hand.

4 Lessons Running Has Taught Me

Do you see this smile? It’s a complete facade. I’ll never forget this race… my shins felt like they were going to explode and all I wanted to do was stop and cry the entire five miles. Prior to this race, I had pushed myself a little too much. I wasn’t aware of my limits, and it resulted in all of my training going down the tubes. This race was my slowest finish. Because I didn’t give myself the rest I deserved, my race time suffered (and so did my shins). The same goes for work, relationships, balancing responsibilities. Know yourself, understand what you can handle, and learn to say no.

I’m a goal digger

When I lace up my sneakers and walk out my front door, I tell myself “today I’m going to run x miles”. And then, I run x miles. Running has made me aware of the healthy competition I have within myself. It’s a trait that I am proud of, and that I apply to all aspects of life. I refuse to quit, to stop before my best has been put forth, and I am 100% driven by goals and a passion to reach them.

I have heard countless instances where people are ‘saved’ by running. They turn their lives around with running. They lose weight, they de-stress, or they learn about themselves.

Join the conversation:
Runners: what have you learned?
If you aren’t a runner, is there a change you’ve noticed in anyone you know that’s picked up running?

[Tweet “What #running has taught me”]



  1. says

    Love these lessons!

    Funny, I used to hate tomatoes and running too! lol

    I started appreciating tomatoes back in my college days , but I didn’t truly appreciate running until much later in life, in my late 30s. While I’ve only been a runner for about 8 years, running has taught me a lot about myself.

    • The Blissful Balance says

      Haha! Tomatoes rock. My mom is the same – she started running in her 30s, and now we are running the Gaspy half together, our second!

  2. says

    Yes to all of these!!!! But I also think it’s important to note that you don’t HAVE to love running (or be a runner). So many people “suffer” through running and it’s OK if you prefer other forms of exercise! But thanks for making me miss it more..kidding 😉

    • The Blissful Balance says

      You are so right Emily! I hope I didn’t sound like you need to be a runner haha oops. You’ll be back at it before you know!!! You trained so much before your injury that it will be a piece of cake, too

    • The Blissful Balance says

      Oh do notttt feel bad. I am the exact same way hahah it’s bad but like you said, I’m working on it!! Thanks for the love :)

  3. says

    I love this! Running has taught me that I’m able to achieve huge goals. I was not athletic at all before I started running and it’s so awesome seeing how far I’ve come. I just ran my 7th half marathon and I’m learning new lessons with each race!

  4. says

    Running has taught me that when I don’t want to do something I’ll be much happier if I just do it. I always regret not running in the morning so when my alarm goes off and I think maybe I’ll sleep in, it always feels better to just do it and run. It gets me up and moving.

  5. says

    Couldn’t agree more with these. I used to call myself the most uncompetitive person you will ever meet, but through running I have learned that I have a competitive side with myself that I have come to truly embrace to reach my goals.

  6. says

    YES YES YES to all of these! I definitely love how running brings out my competitive side…it can happen on the treadmill or the pavement…Totally brings out the athlete in me and I LOVE THAT!

  7. says

    It is incredible how much running benefits you mentally as well as physically! I can’t lie…I loathe running. I used to run a ton, and pushed myself way too hard. Now whenever I run it reminds me of that hard time. BUT on the bright side, before I over did it, running was such an amazing release that allowed me to reconnect with myself. I was never the fastest or the best, but anytime I finished a race I felt such pride and confidence.

    Thanks for posting, I love hearing about the motivations and experiences of others – especially when it comes to fitness!

  8. says

    hey pretty lady! i laughed out loud at your tomato analogy. of all the things to compare it to, who knew tomatoes would be the answer?! running sounds like the perfect release for you!
    i used to run a LOT (for me). I used to run at 6 am 4 days a week and then workout in the afternoons. I started to really resent running and getting up that early, and forgot about why i started in the first place. these days i’ll only go if i feel like it, because it’s much more enjoyable for me that way. sometimes its twice a week, sometimes its once in two weeks! i still love to run, but i love that i dont make myself do it when i’m not feeling up to it.

  9. says

    Yes to all of these. Seriously we’re the same person when it comes to running. I started because I sucked at it and hated it. (great reason right?) But I love proving myself wrong. Even if I’ll never be the best it’s such a special personal journey and it taught me so much gratitude for my body. Like “sorry I thought you were fat legs, thanks for helping me run 10 miles”

  10. says

    I so enjoyed reading this! I am not a runner, but I can relate with lifting. Not that I am a body builder by any means, but I do enjoy some heavy lifting and incorporate it into my workouts about once or twice a week. I used to not like lifting at all, or think I couldn’t do it. But it is great to keep pushing myself every week and see my muscles (and mind) get stronger.
    P.S. This is my first time checking out the new design on my desktop and I LOVE it. The color is BA.

  11. says

    Great article!
    I started getting fit 2 months ago (male 46 UK) and jogging about 7-8 km every other day now.
    I just wanted to tell your readers that if they are a little older or a little overweight (like me) that they should start SLOWLY!
    I started with short walks, building up to long walks before I started jogging.
    Keep up the great work!

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