People always ask me how I mange to stay motivated to keep running. Usually that question comes from non-runners who have never felt the true benefits that running offers. I am not going to lie and say that running is easy, but I will say that running is everything you want it to be, when you want it to be. What I mean by that is you will only get as much out of running as you allow. In a way that sounds cliché, but it is endearingly wrapped in truth.
In the past I looked at running as a mere workout. To me it was something that people did that I didn’t necessarily look favorably upon, but I attempted every so often. At the time I assumed a mile was long distance and after about seven and a half minutes it was over. There was nothing more to it. It was something I did to feel like I was working out and when I was done, I was done.
My approach to running, at one time, did not involve trying to connect with the run itself. I looked at it as a separate entity altogether that was hell-bent on defeating me. Basically, it was my nemesis and at times I avoided it. It wasn’t until I realized that running was more of an ally desperate to aid in all the obstacles that challenged me that I began to become motivated to run whenever possible.
Like most people in life I once suffered from irrational fears and often placed limitations on my abilities. Running, however, allowed me to conquer many of my fears. It renewed a sense of confidence that had been lacking and I noticed that when I ran many of the stresses that plagued my life dissipated. When something went wrong in my life or didn’t necessarily go the way I planned, running became my outlet. I would go for a long run and instead of dwelling on my problems I would reach moments of clarity, which would allow me to see the bigger picture. I no longer focused on what I didn’t have, but rather, on what I did. It was also on long runs where I was able to reconnect with God and speak to Him on a more personal level.
When I am running the only distraction is what’s in front of me, so running allows me to free my mind and thus I am able to disconnect myself from my worries. Running is more about solutions and results. It is not about remaining stagnant and allowing problems to mount, so the only place to go is forward.
I stay motivated to run because I constantly look at all the benefits it has provided and it’s hard to imagine my life without it. Learning to connect with my run, rather than challenging it, forced me to develop a greater appreciation for it. What people must realize is that running is not meant to beat you down. It is meant to lift you up and take you places you have never been before. It is there to help you develop emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. When you learn to take advantage of all the things running has to offer, you will no longer need to be motivated to keep running, because the running will motivate you.
By Raul Alanis