November 06, 2011

What Long Distance Running Teaches Me

I have startedmy masters program for counselling in the last few months.  It is an incredible amount of reading.  I have had my doubts over and over again thinking CAN I DO THIS?? This question is not where I need to lay my thoughts, as self-doubt is destructive to the psyche!  With family, work and demands on my time I have already got, the whole idea of studies seems a bit ridiculous.

In my studies I notice some parallels with my running world.  There are things I lean upon to get me through the major pile of assignments and books.
1.  Familiarity with Long Distances
One is the idea of the long run.  There are modes of thinking needed in long distance running, a discipline I can carry into my studies.  Realizing that there is a discipline and focus needed that is unique to the long run, as well as a familiarity with the course one understands as they train.  Same with studying, once a course is familiar, the load is able to be disbursed more evenly.
2.  Cheerleaders!
A big factor is also the support one needs as they train/study.  I have a spouse who is my "cheerleader" extraordinaire, she has been the one who gives me encouragement, creates space for this discipline in our routine, and pushes me when I feel overwhelmed.  Running has taught me to appreciate this.
3.  Mental Strength
Mentally, being focused for long periods of time has also been very helpful as the long run demands this.  Taking breaks is an area I am needing to work on, as the difference here is that there is no end in sight for how much I must do, so resting is difficult.  However, as I have learned from the training rest is a part of the process.  Trusting this part of the process, like the taper or the day off is counter-intuitive, yet wisdom from experience of others and now myself shows that without rest, you cannot be strengthened.
4.  Life long
This course work has no specific end in sight.  I get overwhelmed by this, yet running also has no end in sight, it is part of my life in which the payback is multifold.  I am reminded of this on the harder days, that I am a life long learner, that the journey is important and to keep up the work because there is great payoff overall.  Running has taught me that too.
5.  LIVE!
Lastly, the hope in my studies is that I can access what I want to in my life, in my career, to be the best that i can be with in my short life.  Running started out as a spark of needing to embrace life, to be ready to chase my kids, feel good, and be healthy.  I can say the same for my program of studies.