Some may think it’s silly to have big dreams in running, but for me, doing hard things in the sport makes me a better person in all areas of my life. Today I’m sharing with you the three most important lessons I’ve learned from having big dreams in running.
Big dreams in running teaches me three important lessons:
- To discipline my body
- To stretch for a goal
- To leave my comfort zone
Lesson 1: Discipline my Body
Big dreams in running teaches me how to discipline my body. It teaches me the importance of daily discipline. I’m a mom of three very active boys. My husband leaves for work by 8 a.m., and we homeschool, so I can’t just take time out for a mid-morning run. At night I’m the Uber driver to all their activities and am sometimes working as well. In order to get my miles in, I have to get up extra early. It’s important for me to get my workouts done before the day and before my husband leaves for work. I want to ensure I’m present for my boys during the day.
I have had to discipline myself to get up early and go even when I don’t feel like it. Most mornings I don’t wake up energized, bouncing out of bed, and excited to get out the door! I have to treat my workout as a priority to get it done. My workout clothes are set out the night before to eliminate any excuses in the morning. I schedule my workouts for the week into my calendar on Sunday evenings, and it makes them feel like an appointment. If it’s in my calendar, it’s most likely going to get done.
When I have big dreams in running, I am disciplined to get my training done, but I also am disciplined to watch what I eat, track my progress, and keep a positive mindset. The more I’m training and setting big dreams in running, the more I say no to my fleshly cravings (i.e. sugar and Netflix).
Lesson 2: Stretch for a Goal
Big dreams in running teaches me how to stretch for another goal. When I have a running goal and am training and working toward it, it’s funny how I become more productive throughout the day and start committing to goals in other areas of my life. It helps direct me to be more goal-oriented and purpose-filled in my activities.
When I began my running journey, I did it merely to stay in shape. I set a goal to run a half marathon. After I finished, I decided to set a goal to run a full marathon. I was already halfway there, so why not?
When I crossed the finish line, something nagged me on the inside to set an even harder goal — to qualify for the Boston Marathon, a feat many runners aspire to, but not many are willing to commit to. That goal fueled me for quite some time, but I managed to hit it! Then I had a new goal. Break a 3 hour and 30 minute marathon, which I did this fall and secured a spot at the 2020 Boston Marathon.
Can you see how each goal spurs you on toward the next one? When I hit a goal, it makes me want to stretch for a new one, and the cycle continues. Each goal is a stepping stone to a larger dream, and I don’t think I’d be so goal-oriented or driven without my big running dreams!
Lesson 3: Leave the Comfort Zone
Big dreams in running teaches me to leave my comfort zone. Our comfort zone is our stagnant zone. The definition of “comfort” is “a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress.” It’s a place where things may come easy. We can sit back and just coast through life.
Some may think it’s silly to have big dreams in running, but for me, doing hard things in the sport makes me a better person in all areas of my life.
When we choose to step outside our comfort zone, we not only automatically become more productive, but it can also foster creativity in ourselves, bringing us to a place we never knew we were capable of being. It can help us to be more flexible in the future when the unexpected happens because we’ve trained ourselves to meander into the unknown, leaving the ease of our mundane lives.
There’s something freeing about doing what’s uncomfortable because you know you’re one of the only ones who is willing to step up and step out into that unknown territory. When I push myself outside of my comfort zone, I build more confidence in myself and my abilities and am able to dream even larger than I could before. There’s something exhilarating about pushing past your limits and dreaming dreams larger than yourself. Running taught me that.
I feel like every time I’m on a training run, I’m learning a life lesson. It’s so crazy how our pursuits can teach and train us if we’re willing to let them.
What area are you passionate about that you can use to learn life lessons in?
- Is it a sport?
- Is it a hobby?
- Is it a career?
- Is it a volunteer role you are in?
- Is it raising your children?
Choose today to use your passions as a way to grow and change and dream big dreams!
The real purpose of running isn’t to win a race; it’s to test the limits of the human heart. — Bill Bowerman, co-founder of Nike
I’m an ordinary runner who chooses to use my sport to push myself to another level. I don’t have to be an elite or a great to do that. I can just be me. I just need to be willing to discipline my body, stretch for a goal, and leave my comfort zone. These three lessons have shaped me to be a better person, and that is why I will continue to dream huge in running, a sport that is my passionate pursuit.
Remember, you are a winner. Just run YOUR race!