For more than thirteen years I have been a runner. It started with a need to lose weight after I had gained 20 pounds over three years working and doing graduate school full-time. But, it has evolved into an important part of my life both physically and mentally. Though its physical benefits are obvious, the other advantages are less valued. In fact, I have discovered five leadership lessons reinforced through running.
As a runner, I really value a quote by Oprah Winfrey that goes as follows “Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.”
I am proud that I’m a runner. Not because I run some extraordinary distances because I don’t. My runs are typically 3-5 miles in distance—sometimes indoors and at other times outdoors. In fact, my longest run to date was a 10-mile competitive run that I did in 2014 (Philadelphia’s Broad Street Run).
Not because I have blazing speed because I certainly do not. I have a fairly slow pace at slightly under 10 minutes a mile. In other words, a world class long distance runner could run well over two miles before I would complete one mile.
So, why am I proud to be a runner?
It goes to Oprah’s quote, “running is the greatest metaphor for life”.
I see running as part of my life course in two ways, physically and psychologically.
Physically, running helps me maintain good health. It strengthens my heart. It strengthens my musculoskeletal system. It helps alleviate stress and anxiety.
The physical benefits are most obvious to the casual observer.
But, the greater benefit of running extends beyond the physical. Running is the greatest metaphor for life because of its psychological benefits.