Since running is basically as easy as walking and has been shown, even in small amounts, to have a positive effect on wellbeing, many of us have laced up some colorful kicks and tried it out. Outcomes vary from long distance love affairs to short painful flings, but no matter how deep the relationship, runners often stumble across valuable leadership lessons. Here are seven insights learned while pounding the pavement:
Training is Important but Adaptability is Essential: Being prepared mentally and physically gives us the skills and confidence we need to face a challenge. But let’s face it, life has plans of its own and there are times when our preparation misses the mark. What’s important is to be mindful, adapt and persevere.
Self Care is Key: Running with any regularity means keeping the mind and body working well. Proper rest, hydration and nutrition are not only important for top performance on the trail, they help us work smarter in the office too.
For Best Results, Stay Clear and Focused: Doing well as a runner or as a leader requires consistent clarity and focus. A moment of distraction can lead to a total wreck. We have to practice habits that minimize and control the distractions that conspire to send us off track.
This Too Shall Pass: From the excitement of starting out, through mundane miles and all the way to the satisfaction of reaching a goal, our experience traverses a wide range of emotions. Whether high or low, we trod on knowing that things change with every step.
We All Need Somebody: Especially during races, runners rely on supporters to help them stay focused, healthy and positive. Sharing tough times with a friend, being reminded to eat when we’d rather puke and hearing jokes when we want to quit keeps the demons of depression away. Look for and accept help when things are good and bad.
Reflection Supports Learning: While stopping mid stride to think about how we’re doing might not be a good idea, taking time after an event to reflect on what worked, what didn’t and what we might do differently supports our forward momentum.
There is No Finish Line: Whether we’ve been successful or less so, there is no finishing. Ever. There’s only the continuation of our efforts.
If running is at all appealing, now is a great time to set an intention to get after it in the new year. Even just a few unplugged minutes of person powered cruising helps keep our minds clear and bodies healthy. Have fun, keep it simple and see what you discover.