More Than You Asked For, The Power of Running
Running is an invitation. An invitation into the feelings, lessons, passion and diverse perspectives that running brings with it.
There will come a time in your running journey when running will be more than a physical activity where you elevate your heart rate, your cheeks turn red, and your body glistens with sweat. If we unbox the gift of running, inside, we quickly find a world of art, self-therapy, connection, mental clarity, and hard-earned wisdom.
Movement is art, and patience is wealth. Running is a long-term game that compounds in value the further you venture inside its fruitful sphere. In the early stages of the journey, you become exposed to new roads, sore muscles, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find someone you can meet up with on a Wednesday after work to run with.
As you break through the surface of this simple movement, you start to discover the plethora of ways and places you can run. Suddenly, you find yourself running narrow dirt trails at sunrise or bounding along mountain ridgelines at sunset. With every change of form, a new sensation unlocks within, and you find new colors to paint on on the canvas of your running journey.
Somewhere beyond the physical act of running, is another world; a world worth exploring. Many of us wish that it would ask politely if we're ready for the tough questions when we're in this space. The reality is, it's a demanding space. It feels like the best friend who wants the best for you or the teacher that harshly grades your work, all because they don't settle for mediocrity. It teaches you discipline and reminds you to be humble, all inside a classroom without four walls.
We start to see what beauty is because we can recognize it against ugliness. Our connections go deeper because we break down walls, facades, and preconceived expectations. The spectrum of feelings that we once knew is quickly tripled in size because suddenly, we put ourselves in a place we didn't know existed. If you can handle these things, running will feel easy.
So what happens when it's not easy, you ask? On the days when work has beat you down, where your stomach is in a knot, or your heart feels heavy? These are the days worth running the most.
The stronger the desire not to run is, the more you're going to get from it if you do eventually decide to go. This relationship is inversely proportional but worth understanding.
There is a super-power of running that nobody tells you about when you buy your first pair of shoes. Running has a way of surfacing feelings and bringing thoughts into a state of clarity that you won't find when sitting at a desk or lying on your bed. When the blood flows, the mind goes. Whether we decide to push the tempo or remain at a 'chatting pace,' the act of running quickly changes our mental and physical landscape.
Before heading out on the run, you might be feeling all kinds of emotions. Maybe you've hit a creative block or need to clear your mind before a tough phone call. No matter where your headspace sits in the moments before running, there's a strong chance it won't be in that place by the time you return home.
In these environments, we can share our stories and feelings without receiving judgment because the people alongside us are really not all that different to you and I, after all.
Next time you go for a run, take a new stance. Don't look it at as a physical pursuit but rather one for your mind. Head out on the road or the trails and ask yourself where you want your mind to be when you finish the run. Every run, you have the opportunity to learn and improve. Learn what your body needs to feel good and what you did when things felt easy. The discoveries you make will be invaluable and help shape the person you are striving to be.
I hope you get to connect with a stranger or run to a place you've never seen before next time you head out... The world is waiting for you, and running is the vehicle that will take you around. Maybe the physical gain and fruits of running have always been a byproduct, and the whole time instead, we've been sharpening the swords of our mind.
Let the lessons come, the pain pass, the feelings float, the beauty hover, and the connection strengthen. Running provides us with practical gifts we didn't know we needed. I urge you to keep running, so you too can find out where they are.
What does running invite into your life? Maybe it’s connection, freedom, love, rhythm, breath, mindfulness, power, possibility, strength, joy, focus, activism, escape, speed, or community. Only you know the answer.
Running is an invitation. Run with us on Global Running Day - 2nd June 2021. The distance and pace don’t matter - 10km, 10 minutes - just get out there and take what you need.
Sign up for the lululemon Global Running Day Challenge on Strava.