7 Lessons Learned From Running
One of the best things about running is what it teaches us.
Here are 7 things we’ve learned from running as we’ve got older. What would you add?
You’ll Be Misunderstood – But You’ll Get Over It
It doesn’t take long for runners (particularly female runners) to realise that they’re a breed apart. Family, friends, even colleagues might question what you do. “Are you going running AGAIN?”, “you’re already slim, you don’t need to run” and “why do you put yourself through it?” are just some of the questions we face. So, yes, as runners we know we’ll be questioned, queried and misunderstood. But we also know that we’ll find a whole new community of fellow runners who will understand exactly how we feel about running!
We’ll Discover Muscles We Didn’t Know We Had
If we run throughout our 40s, 50s and beyond, the naysayers might start warning us to be careful. Keep running, they say, and you’ll damage your knees/wear your hips out/get injured (etc). But we know the truth: that being a runner beyond our 20s and 30s actually helps us stay stronger and fitter than our peers. Running doesn’t just help us keep control of our waistlines as we age (although that’s a definite bonus!) It tones our muscles, helps offset the risk of osteoporosis, encourages a strong posture, and keeps our core muscles tight.
Not Every Session Has To Be All-Out
At the start, we thought every running session had to be 100% in order to count. But as we’ve been running for a few years, we realise that running – like life – comes in peaks and troughs. Some sessions will be great, others will be just so-so, and some will be a downright struggle. But the important thing is getting out there and staying committed. Not every session has to be a lung-busting PB-setting victory. They all count, often in ways we don’t expect.
Healthy Eating Doesn’t Mean Dieting
Running burns plenty of calories, and can definitely help us lose weight or maintain it as we get older. And, of course, healthy eating habits go hand-in-hand with being a runner. But as we spend more time in this wonderful sport, our attitude about healthy eating settles down from the early-days extremes. We find our own take on healthy eating, we learn to take nutrition advice with a pinch of salt (so to speak), and we find what works for us. And we reject dieting. Because slashing calories, avoiding carbs, cutting out entire food groups and restricting our energy intake does not lead to strong, healthy running.
Our Running Goals Change As We Age
Some of us started running in our 20s, others found the sport when we were 60+. But one thing is true for us all: our running goals change with us. What seemed important in the early days (PBs, race pace, speed) might not be what drives us 5 or 10 years into our running journey. It doesn’t matter. Goals are very personal, and will change with age, health, lifestyle and circumstances. The wonderful thing about running is that it’s so flexible and can continue to be an outlet whatever your goals.
Rest Is Important
When we started out, we were super-keen and thought we had to run all the time to make any progress. Recovery runs felt like a waste of time, and as for rest days… torture! As we mature as runners, we realise that rest and recovery isn’t just important, it’s a crucial part of the puzzle. Periodised training, deload weeks, recovery runs, cross training, massage, foam rolling, and plenty of sleep all have an important part to play in the well-rounded training approach of a runners who’s in it for the long-haul.
Running Friends Are The Best Friends
Who would have thought that “going running” would provide us with such amazing new friends? Whether you run with a club, a running group, or just a small crew of running buddies, we’re sure you’ve all discovered the same thing: that running friends are the best friends. They know about your struggles, they’ve been there for your successes. And they truly “get” why you love running!