Some may think it’s silly to have big dreams in running, but for me, doing hard things in running makes me a better person in all areas of my life.

Wouldn’t it be cool if your passion or hobby could teach you how to be better in all areas of your life? The good news? It totally can if you let it because that’s what running does for me. It’s amazing the lessons we can learn and apply in our lives through our sports or hobbies if we let them work on us.

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Having big dreams in running has taught me a few lessons:

1. Big dreams in running teach me discipline.

One of my biggest dreams come true (in running at least) was qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon in 2016. For those of you who may not know the significance, it is a legendary race that you have to qualify (times based on gender and age) to receive a bid to run. It’s a way to separate yourself in the running world. I feel like it’s a way to become an “elite” among the ordinary because that’s what I am — an ordinary runner who loves pushing myself in extraordinary goals. 

But in order to get there, I had to follow a strict training schedule, and I couldn’t just take a few days off. Even when I didn’t feel like it, I had to discipline myself to follow the plan and get out there. Getting up early to get my training runs in before the busyness of the day began was a must. Family time is important to me, and I didn’t want my runs to interfere with it, so I chose to set my alarm and get up early. I also had to schedule my workouts (I still do). 

Every Sunday evening I would plan out my week.

I’d figure out where to best fit my training runs, when I could get to the track, when it was best to fit my long run in, and so on. I scheduled my runs into my planner like an appointment. It solidified them a little more in my mind and helped me to see them as important because my goals are important! 

The more disciplined I was in my training, the more productive I was during the day. I had more energy to get things done, and since I was up early, I felt like I had more time in my day. Following my training plan helped me curve excuses that came, the biggest being that I just didn’t feel like doing it. But you know what? In order to be successful, we have to put in the work even when we don’t feel like it. That’s when it matters the most for the discipline to kick in.

2. Big dreams in running teach me to stretch for a goal.

I like to have a goal. It helps me to not only stay disciplined, but to also have something to look forward to. When we have a goal, it can spark a passion inside that can illuminate on the outside. 

I don’t run many races throughout the year, but I like to have two to three so I’m essentially having a goal from race to race. Sometimes these races are leading up to an ultimate goal for the year and are stepping stones to my larger goal or dream. Stretching for a goal makes me feel like one bad mother runner! It boosts my confidence and makes me feel worthy of great things.

When I chose the dream of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, I didn’t really have a real reason why.

It just seemed like the cool thing to do at the time. But as I began pushing for it and training for it, it became more of a passion. The ultimate “why” came after failing in 2012 to hit a qualifying time. 

“Go out and chase your dreams no matter how crazy they seem.” –American actress and singer Shanice Williams

I watched the 2013 Boston Marathon from afar, and it was a race that changed history. The infamous Boston Bombing took place that year just after what my goal finish time would have been. That alone created more of a burn for me to be there.

  • I wanted to represent our country at the historic race.
  • It became more of a duty for me to run that race as a way of saying we aren’t scared, and we won’t back down.
  • Inspiring others to not quit on themselves drove my motive, and my focus became less about me.

Running goals may seem silly to you, but to me, they leak over to other areas of my life. It creates a desire for me to have business goals, financial goals, marriage goals, parenting goals, and so on. Hitting a goal makes me want to hit another and then another and creates a positive domino effect! If you use your passion or hobby to begin hitting goals, you will in turn see it leak over to other areas of your life.

3. Big dreams in running teach me to leave my comfort zone

In order to get somewhere we’ve never been, we have to do something we’ve never done. Makes sense, right? That’s leaving our comfort zone. Our comfort zone is staying right where we are because, essentially, it’s not hard. We’re used to being right where we are. It doesn’t cause tension or stress in our lives, or if it does, we’ve gotten so used to it that it’s become a normalcy, and we can live with it. 

Big dreams in running cause me to have to leave my comfort zone in order to obtain those said dreams. In order to qualify for the Boston Marathon, I had to change up the workouts I’ve always done. I’ve always been a steady 8-8: 30-minute miler, whether it be a 5k or a half marathon (fulls were quite a bit slower). In order to get my full down to an 8-minute mile, which is what I needed to qualify, I knew I had to do something different. I had to look at speed training differently. I needed to leave my comfortable pace if I wanted to get faster.

The good in life comes when we leave the comfort of what we are doing and embrace the uncomfortable. Work to stretch yourself every day, and your dreams will follow.


Big dreams in running have taught me discipline, how to stretch for a goal, and how to leave my comfort zone. 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’ve been able to use these lessons in running and apply them to all areas of my life, and you can take your sport or hobby and do the same thing. I encourage you to do just that. You’ll never be disappointed stretching yourself because no matter if you hit your goal the first time or not, you will have grown and built more confidence and strength, and you’ll be more willing to do it again.

Dream huge, and, remember, you are a winner. Just run YOUR race!

I’d love to hear from you! What activity pushes you to be better in all areas of your life? Leave a comment below and let me know.

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[…] RELATED: Why Big Dreams In Running […]

Marta - Imperfect Life Balance
Marta - Imperfect Life Balance

Leaving your comfort zone is so important in realizing our dreams. It’t just easier to stay with something that feels familiar. This was a big lesson for me! Great post Gabe!