Even 9 days after the NYC Marathon, I am still finding myself looking through memories from race day. Each day I try to plan for the future, and in doing so am always brought back to articles or pictures from the marathon. While this was not my first marathon, the experience of running 26 miles seems new and fresh each time. Each time I head into race day, I believe that I am prepared for anything and know exactly what to expect. However, the marathon has proved me wrong every time – providing me with valuable insights and new life wisdom with each experience.
During training, I feel confident heading into long runs knowing that I have run the distance before. Sure, there are always bad runs, but I still believe that I’ll be prepared for race day. However, by mile 20 of the marathon, I find myself questioning my abilities. The marathon itself presents a challenge that never gets easier, no matter how many times you’ve completed it. There is something about pushing your body past its limits that challenges your brain like nothing else. Through these challenges, I have learned more about myself than any other moments of my life. Marathons have brought me immeasurable life wisdom; lessons that I could not have learned in any other circumstance.
It has taken some time to fully process all of the emotions, physical pain, and adrenaline that I experienced during this past marathon. As I think back through the race time and time again, I am reminded of the many lessons I learned. Some lessons I learned for the first time, and others served as important reminders of valuable life wisdom. The challenge of pushing yourself to the limits is what attracts me to distance running, but the experience of highs and lows, camaraderie, and discovering yourself is what keeps me coming back.
I’ve spent a large portion of these past nine days reflecting on the experience of the New York City Marathon. What went well, what was challenging, the planning, the city, and the other runners. I finally feel like I’ve had enough time to wrap my head around the day, and am coming away with some incredible life wisdom; about myself, what is meaningful, and the world.
The marathon has taught me more than any other circumstance in my life; I’ve gained more strength and insight than I could have ever imagined. Here are some of my favorite bits of life wisdom that I’ve gained from running marathons.
Life Wisdom I’ve Gained from Running Marathons
You will not find success unless you prepare for it.
Preparation, preparation, preparation. Sure, you can achieve a few things by winging it. But that method will never lead you to greatness. You get out of something what you put into it, and if you want anything other than mediocrity you have to work for it.
Just because you done something before does not make you an expert.
Guilty! A challenge is a challenge no matter how many times you’ve completed it. You may enter the second time with wisdom gained from the first, but there is always something new to be learned. Expect the unexpected and don’t settle for foolishness.
It is impossible to plan for everything.
No matter how meticulously you plan, something unexpected is going to happen. Prepare as much as possible, but understand that adjustments will need to be made. Be willing to change without letting it bring you down.
Pain is temporary.
Whatever pain you are experiencing now, it is going to subside. It may end in the next minute, or maybe the next year, but it won’t last forever. You can make it through anything knowing that it is not permanent.
You can accomplish anything by breaking it into smaller, manageable goals.
Your wildest dreams can come true if you set up a game plan to achieve them. You can only achieve those impossible goals by starting exactly where you are today. Work away at it each day, understand that failures are inevitable, and never give up.
Gratitude is one of the biggest tools to get through tough times.
There is always someone out there who is struggling more than you. Be grateful for where you are in this moment, and remember that it could be worse. Practicing gratitude when we are struggling reminds us that we do in fact have something wonderful in our lives.
Nothing is impossible.
Imagine what it would feel like to accomplish your wildest dreams. Those people you admire, look up to, and strive to be all started where you are. It takes hard work but if the goal is that sweet, it will be worth it. Don’t be afraid to dream.
If it does not challenge you, it will not change you.
Nothing worth having comes easy. Settling for mediocrity will give you an easy life, but never those moments of bliss that you long for. The most challenging moments change us into the people we were meant to be. We cannot change without a challenge.
Never judge others.
You have no idea what that person with the weird looking hair has been through. We have no clue why that woman is overweight, or what that tattoo could possibly mean. Meet those around you with an open eye, for it’s often the most unlikely people that have the biggest hearts.
Like minded strangers can be your biggest support system.
Those strangers standing next to you at the start line might end up being the reason that you finish. Don’t ever underestimate the power of the human spirit. Working together will get you farther than you ever could have dreamed alone.
Prove something to yourself, not others.
Set a goal and accomplish it for yourself. Don’t run to show off for that new boyfriend, or to post on social media. If it doesn’t mean anything to you you won’t get anything out of it. Find a reason, your own motivation, and push yourself each day because of it.
There are really amazing people in this world, you just have to open your eyes to find them.
In a world so filled with negativity lately – terror on the news, violence, anger in the check out line – it’s easy to become overwhelmed and depressed. Sad stories and natural disasters seem to be everywhere we look. When we feel overwhelmed, it’s easy to close our minds to the simple acts of goodness happening all around us. Some of the most normal looking people are doing the greatest things, and you have no idea. Find kindness wherever you go, and if you can’t find it – create it.
You didn’t get where you are today without the help of others.
Don’t ever forget about the ones who helped you get there. Your support system was there for you when you were struggling, so don’t exclude them when you are celebrating. Thank those who have sacrificed for you, and be willing to pay them back when it’s their turn.
Running marathons has truly given me some of the best experiences of my life. I love how the distance challenges you, excites you, and pushes you. A marathon truly changes you, each and every time.