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I’ll tell you what; I really enjoy that piece of music and that’s why I picked it for the intro music for this podcast. Something about it to me says 1920s, kind of classy, all the good stuff, none of the bad stuff. Just kind of a peaceful time, and that’s what this music reminds me of and I hope that it reminds you of the same thing.
So, let’s get down to business.
Today, we’re going to talk about running and three life lessons I learned from running, and I hope that you also get some takeaways as well. Of course, there’s a lot more than just three life lessons. I actually did a whole mindmap for this episode in order to make sure that I had something to talk about.
I’ll be honest; running is not exactly the most exciting thing on earth, but I do think there’s a lot of value in it so let’s go ahead and dig in.
Let’s talk about, first of all, the three life lessons that I learned from running – the three life lessons that I learned from running.
Here’s the first one: You have to start – plain and simple – even if you don’t want to. This isn’t even close to New Year’s, but I’m going to go ahead and touch base on that. How many times have we made a resolution on New Year’s, or maybe we got that new gym membership, and we say, “You know what? I’m going to do it,” but then you wake up in the morning and it’s like, “Ah, you know, it’s kind of cold outside so I think I need to stay inside. I don’t want to take the five-second walk to my car to go to the gym.” Or maybe it’s “I’m just tired.” Or maybe it’s “I don’t feel like running so I’m not going to.”
But the easiest way to be a runner is to simply start. That’s like they say, “How do you run a marathon?” Well, one step at a time. So, I thought that was really interesting and how that can apply to our lives for any type of goal that we’re trying to reach, the main thing is you just have to start.
With this podcast, I just have to start. With the business that you’re trying to start, you just need to start. If you’re trying to start any kind of spiritual discipline, that’s something you just need to start.
There’s power in beginning.
The second life lesson I learned from running is that the moment you feel like quitting is the moment that you must keep going. So, the moment that you feel like quitting is the moment that you must keep going.
Usually, for me, I’m not a very great distance runner, but I do enjoy running because it sheds the weight quickly and it’s a good way to free your mind of things that are going on. But I noticed that, if I’ve got a two-mile run scheduled, about halfway through, I have got the most urgent burning desire to just quit and I have all sorts of excuses that run through my head to say, “You know what, Philip? It’s better that you stop. You know, your knee kind of hurts and, well, you know, you better get home to make dinner,” even though I never make dinner because I can’t cook – all sorts of excuses. But then, that’s when I think, “Well, if I stop now, I just might as well have not started.” So, I have to continue and push through that momentary resistance. So, the moment you feel like quitting is the moment you must keep going.
And then, the third life lesson I learned is the feeling of accomplishment after the run is always worth the pain endured during the run. The feeling of accomplishment after the run is always worth the pain endured during the run. I know that, during the run, a lot of times, the only thing that keeps me going is thinking about afterwards.
You know, I mean, after you’ve done the run, usually – at least for me – after I’m done doing a run, I think, “Well, you know, that really wasn’t that bad.” Or after I’ve got some large project at work or some big, seemingly insurmountable task, afterwards, looking back, it’s always like, “Well, I mean, yeah, that was difficult, there were some challenges, but it really wasn’t as hard as I made it out to be,” and that’s kind of the way I view it with running, and actually, that’s how I approach it with any project I take on or any sort of anything I’m trying to start – that it’s going to be difficult, I’m going to want to quit, but I need to continue going on, and I know that the feeling at the end – that feeling of accomplishment and reward – will be so worth it once I get there. I mean, there’s no shortcuts to it; you’ve got to push through the pain, but you get there, it’s totally worth it.
So, those are the three life lessons that I learned from running. I hope that those help you a little bit.
But, of course, with running, there’s a lot more to it than just three life lessons. So, we’re going to dig in to another one and I’m going to talk about the health benefits.
One health benefit from running, of course, is that you sleep better. Did you know that was coming? Did you know I was going to say sleep? You probably thought I was going to say something like, “It lowers your cholesterol,” or something medical like that. No, it helps you sleep better.
Now, how many times have you gone to work and you come home at the end of the day and you’re exhausted? Not because you’ve done a lot physically, but you’re drained emotionally and mentally, and so you just collapse into bed exhausted. What’s even better is that, after a run, when you collapse into bed, you’re not just emotionally and mentally drained from work, you’re physically drained from your run and that helps you sleep better. I promise you. I guarantee it. You should try it sometime.
Of course, the other benefit is that it helps you burn fat and, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a few pounds to lose. If you’re an ultra-marathon runner, I applaud you and I’d like to be there someday. But it’s a good way to shed pounds quickly. It doesn’t take all that much time.
And then, the other thing that I noticed with running is that it increases your energy. So, I had this philosophy that, with any kind of working out, it takes energy to make energy. I’m going to say that one more time, hopefully it makes sense to you. It takes energy to make energy.
It is brutally hard to get up and start running on a regular basis – just three times a week for twenty minutes at a time. You’re not even going for distance; you’re just doing time. Let me just keep moving my feet for twenty minutes at a time. But what you find is that, the next week, it’s a lot easier. I mean, it’s not like you’re running a marathon right away. But you have more energy and, as you gain more energy, you’re able to run more. So, it’s just kind of this great cycle that gives you increased energy. But the kicker is that you have to start. You have to deplete the energy you have in order for your body to create more energy for the upcoming physical thing you have coming up like a run.
Another aspect of running that maybe you don’t think of – and this all depends, of course, on your life situation and what you and your spouse enjoy doing, or your girlfriend, or your friends – but, for me, as someone who’s married, my wife and I have three kids, I work full-time, I also go to school because I love education – I’m kind of a geek. But, when my wife and I go running together, we get all of those health benefits and those life lessons, but we also get family time together. The girls are in the stroller and Loretta and I are just running together and that’s, a lot of times, when we have breakthroughs with issues that we haven’t been able to resolve, or we have great ideas on things we want to do, and we just generally appreciate the time together. We’re working together on a goal which is finishing the run and that creates a kind of synergy that really – at least in our case – we really enjoy it and it really helps our relationship.
The other part about running is the mental aspect of it. You need to push past your boundaries every time you run. You don’t know you can run three miles until you have to run three miles. But, once you’ve done that, you’re like, “Well, I guess you can run four miles.” The main thing is you have to start and then finish. Once you’ve done one mile, you can do two miles. Once you’ve done two miles, you can do three miles. Once you’ve done three miles, you can do four miles, and I think you get the picture after that. I mean, it’s a great way to train your mind to push past the obstacles and that kind of stuff spills over into other areas of your life.
So, I know for me, personally, when I go running, I know that if I can push past a time I’m trying to beat, when I go to work, I know that I’ll be able to reference that run and say, “I remember beating my time yesterday in my run and there’s no reason why I can’t accomplish this project before the deadline and show my boss that I’m doing really well and kind of help him out and help the company.”
Another aspect of running on the mental side of things is that it gives you time to think. When I do go running by myself, I don’t have any headphones on – that’s just me personally – I don’t listen to any music. I don’t really talk to anyone unless my wife is with me. It’s just me, myself, and I – running – sometimes swatting away mosquitoes, wiping off the sweat. But really just kind of taking in the environment around me, breathing in the fresh air, and enjoying getting out and having a change of pace, and that is a great time to just think and process everything that’s going through your head. If you’re anything like me, you have a million ideas going through your head, you can’t write them down fast enough, you can’t start half of them fast enough, much less finish them, and this is a great way to kind of rebalance yourself – at least that’s how it works for me.
And part of that time to think – and, you know, I mentioned just a second ago that I don’t wear headphones – is that it’s a great way to disconnect from technology. I will be honest and say that I track my runs with the app Map My Run – it’s a great little app, it’s free on the iPhone, I’m sure it’s free on Android as well – and that allows me to keep track of how far I’ve gone and the time I’ve been gone. But, other than that, I don’t have any text messages that I’m going to respond to, I’m not checking my email, I’m not looking for music, my phone is in my pocket and that’s where it stays for the duration of the run because I think it’s a great way not only to think and get away from it all but really to disconnect from technology.
Well, I do want to say thank you again for listening.
If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please rate it on iTunes and leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.
You can see the show notes for this episode if you go to philipdevine.com/episode01.
My next podcast episode will be on spiritual economics and the fact that there’s no such thing as a free lunch – even with our faith. So, I think that’ll be a pretty good one. I’m excited to share some things I know about that. And, if you have any questions about the next episode on spiritual economics, just go to my website – philipdevine.com/podcastquestion – and leave a voicemail and we’ll see if we can get that recorded into the podcast and I’ll answer it on the show.
So, until next time, I look forward to seeing you.
This is Philip Devine, helping you live your life better.