There are a number of good things that I attribute directly to running. Besides the obvious (better health, strength and stamina) and the things that go with that (weight regulation, improved physique) there are a few other things that I’m enjoying:
- Increased patience. There’s something about distance running (even the distances that I run) that help set internal expectations for tedious events. I know that when I’m at the beginning third or quarter of a run I sometimes get annoyed by what I have left to go. This is especially true for treadmill running where the constants are usually time and blank wall space. More and more I am able to reach a zone where I can make use of the tedium by thinking about things with few distractions. This is a huge breakthrough for me and evidence that I’ve nudged up a bit from beginner to intermediate. Previously I was too distracted by the suffering to do much thinking but, as conditioning improves, I have more time to enjoy my runs. The concepts of bearing up through other tedious things in life (commuting, long meetings, checkout lines) apply here as well. My wife and kids may disagree but I think I am much more patient than I was 6 months ago.
- Broadened interests. First there was running but that led to running technologies and a greater interest in nutrition. I’m also looking forward to trail running (I know, just do it and stop writing about how I plan to do it!). I’m also thinking a lot more about integrating karate into my workouts and I’ll probably go back to roller blading once it warms up and the streets are clear of snow and dirt. There are many more things than that but, possibly most important of all, it gives me something to write about.
- Energy. Let’s just say I’m much more willing to do activities on the weekends than I used to…
Running and activity also enhances engagement with people in a way that I have not experienced in a long time. I work with many smart, dynamic people and I’ve discovered many of them run, cycle or do multiple sports. This website allows me to engage with people across the country and the world through an area of common interest. My wife has always been an active person and my activity now compliments hers. She even did some running this weekend although it’s not her sport. Since the kids are getting into running it would be great if all four of us could run together. Running and general activity have enhanced every aspect of my life. What took me so long to come back to it?