Everyone measures the importance of running in terms of physical and mental health advantages. Strong bones and muscles? Check. Weight loss? Most definitely! Crazy good mood? It’s guaranteed. But if you ask devoted runners, they will tell you how the sport took them on a transformative journey, helping with personal development, self-discovery, and a more fulfilling life. Brooks Running brings you six life lessons from running. 

1. Setting goals and having an action plan pays off 

Two things can happen if you have an erratic running schedule—injuries and plateaued running performance. The only way to become a successful runner is by setting realistic goals and achieving them in a structured way through a well-designed training plan. Similarly, whether you want to earn more money, go on international trips, or grow spiritually, everything is possible if you put your plan on paper and follow it diligently.

2. Stay flexible and learn to let go.

Planning is crucial, but it is more important to be ready with plan ‘B’ if things don’t work out as expected. And if plan B also fails, you must accept the situation, let go, and remember there’ll always be another time. Consider a scenario where you diligently trained for an upcoming half marathon to cross the finish line within 2 hours. But the weather turned bad on race day, and your most comfortable road running shoes gave in. You have to embrace the setback and let go of your initial goal. Go for Plan B and focus on finishing the marathon with a positive attitude and smile!

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3. Have no room for comparison. 

The prime importance of running in a big group is motivation. But it is also easy to get stuck in a comparison rut and get demotivating thoughts like, “How did they get ahead of me?” or “I should increase my pace to keep up.” Whether in running, career, or relationships, there will always be someone seemingly “better” than you. If you keep comparing yourself to others, you will always be disappointed. Concentrate on your journey and measure your progress against your own benchmarks to enjoy long-lasting happiness.

4. Taking breaks is good.

Training plans incorporate rest days, and marathons have multiple hydration stations for a reason. Taking breaks is essential for rejuvenating and running better. The lesson here is to ditch your relentless 7-day work week and set aside time for family, friends, and yourself. A good work-life balance will save you from physical and mental burnout, enhance productivity, and make you happier. 

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5. Life is a mind game.

Running teaches you that if you master mind control, you can conquer all challenges and cross the finish line triumphantly in your best road running shoes. Likewise, everything may not happen your way in life, but the moment you realize the power of mindset, you will not succumb to negative thoughts and navigate challenges with resilience. 

6. Be patient, and success will follow you.

You want to simultaneously beat your 10k PB, run two full marathons in a year, lose weight, and build abs. Your strong desires will lead you to clickbait like “Get abs in 2 weeks” or “Train for a full marathon in a month.” While your goals are not impractical, your approach to achieving them is. Success will be all yours if you stay committed, be patient, and stop seeking instant gratification. 

Now, the next time you lace up your road running shoes and head out, remember to reflect upon the importance of running from a philosophical point of view!