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Running the Race

Posted: January 18, 2015, 3:45 p.m.
by Jean Faircloth.

Running . . . You either love it or you hate it, but despite your differing opinions, we can all learn from it.

Learning to run

Photo by Jonatan Rosales via Flickr
Photo by Jonatan Rosales via Flickr

When I first began running, I could barely run half of a mile consistently. I was also very slow and extremely impatient. However, I kept noticing that those who are good at running, simply love it. They would use that phrase, “I am addicted to running,” and they were healthy individuals who were in incredible shape. Then it clicked! There must be something to this running thing, and if I want to learn, I will have to start from somewhere.

Coming to college with the mentality that you want to be a millionaire is similar to buying a pair of tennis shoes in belief that you can finish a marathon. It just does not work like that. Many of us look at those who are successful, and we long for the same result. Yet, true success cannot be handed to you, and in all honesty, you don’t really want it to be. The reward is much greater when you work for it, one stride at a time.

Setting goals, not outcomes
So, I measured one mile from my house and found my landmark. I told myself that I would run as far as I could, and then I would walk up to that landmark. After I reached that point, I would then turn around to return to my starting point. However, I always made sure that I would finish my trip in a full sprint. I did this as many days a week as I could. Each day inspired me to run again the next day. I’d make it to one street light further to half of a mile further to running the entire route. Running two miles felt great, and I was very pleased with the outcome. I enjoyed this two-mile route and ran it with pride as I did not have to stop. I would look at that first stop light that I could make it to when I began and would just smile with pride as I breezed by. After about a month, I measured a three-mile loop, and I began again. After about six months, I was running eight miles a day, and I could honestly say that crazy statement, “I am addicted to running.”

Running has taught me patience in setting and accomplishing goals that I believe we can all use in the professional world. Many times, our society gets a little confused about the difference between an outcome and a goal. A goal is something that you decide you will do every single day. Every day that you complete this goal, you are rewarded. Being on time to work, taking an extra 10 minutes to re-read that press release every time before hitting send, or never skipping class or a day of work for no reason — these are goals. They are tangible, and they lead to an outcome. That outcome might be a promotion or winning the big client. You must do the work to get the outcome.

Keeping a pace
In distance running, pace is the key factor. If you run too fast, your body will not be able to continue once it reaches exhaustion. Your body will fatigue, and your legs begin to get wobbly. Your lungs feel like they are going to explode, and your heart is pulsing out of your shirt. Rather, if you keep your pace, your body gets in rhythm. Now, you must remember that you are running, not jogging. A pace does not mean it should be easy or slow — it is that perfect speed that your body likes as it keeps working hard. Your legs are basically numb as they stride through mile after mile. Your heart beats, and your lungs inhale and exhale at a steady pace. Your mind is focused on your breathing and enjoying the music. It never becomes easy, but it becomes natural and a desired feeling to complete your day.

Finding a pace is not limited to running. One should find a pace in many aspects, if not all of the aspects of our lives. A pace is the balance your brain desires just as much as your body does. Keeping your focus where your feet are, step by step, is crucial. It is important to emphasize again that your pace does not equal cruising through that time, taking the easiest way, and not being challenged. As you work your hardest to achieve the everyday goals in your tasks, make sure to enjoy college, enjoy your first internship, enjoy your first job, enjoy your first promotion and enjoy your first million you make because each is a mountain, no matter how small or how high. If you are sprinting, exhaustion will be the barrier to your success.

Photo by Annie D. via Flickr
Photo by Annie D. via Flickr`

Never say never
Never say you hate running because you are running every day whether you are in tennis shoes, heels or loafers. Life is the race, and you are a participant. The best part about this realization is you have the choice in regard to how you cross that finish line!

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