Guilty! I find it difficult to say no. I put the needs of other people before my own. It’s not a character flaw, really. It’s more of a reality and I know I’m not alone. Runners are compassionate people. What other group of athletes chooses to pay registration fees every weekend to support a variety of causes, then proudly wears the t-shirts to bring even more exposure to the missions? That empathy transfers to everything we do. You know what I’m talking about. The boss probably comes to you first when a task needs to be done without complaints. Friends know that you will respond to that text immediately. My husband is also a runner, so at my house, it’s almost a competition to finish chores or help the kids. No surprise- we can’t help ourselves.
It can be difficult to make the rest of the world wait. Because of our accommodating attitudes, it just doesn’t feel right. However, that “me time” is so important. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary to stay balanced. How can we be there for others if we don’t take time for ourselves? That’s where your run comes in. Allow yourself to reenergize by getting lost in your head when you run. Trust me- I’m the master of putting my own needs aside. Even I’ve learned that it really is okay.
- FEEL THE MUSIC- Let the rhythm guide your feet. Sing along. I often give free performances as I run. Who cares if I’m off key?
- PRAY- Use this time for reflection and hope. Prayer can uplift your spirit as you train your body.
- BE ONE WITH NATURE- Take in the sights and sounds of the world around you. Watch squirrels gather nuts or furry caterpillars crawl. Observe the colors of trees or find the shapes in cloud formations. Feel the breeze. Isn’t this why we choose to run outside?
- REMINISCE- Think back to “people and things that went before,” in the words of The Beatles. My dad, who was a runner, passed away about five years ago. Whenever a butterfly joins me on a run, I like to think it’s a sign that my dad is still running alongside me. Always makes me smile!
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY- I bet you’ve heard the phrase “feel the burn.” It’s a good kind of pain, right? When you run, think about the different parts that are working together. Listen to the pattern of your breathing. Feel the strength in your muscles. Overcome the desire to focus on that bruised toenail!
- PLAN YOUR DAY- There’s nothing wrong with forming a to-do list in your head. You may think more clearly when you’re out on a run alone. Your mind is uncluttered and able to come up with the best solutions to conquer your day.
Take that time for yourself and simply get lost in your thoughts. You can go back to saving the world when your run is finished.
I was a writer for RunHaven website, which no longer produces new content. This article was originally posted on that site.