“Running has taught me, perhaps more than anything else, that there’s no reason to fear starting lines…or other new beginnings.” ~ Amby Burfoot
The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon recently saw its 14th edition completing in all its glory. The streets of Mumbai came alive in the early hours with hoards of cheerleaders, music bands, people lining up to cheer their folks, runners across different categories reaching the finishing line in exhilaration – it’s an extremely buzzing atmosphere every year.
Now, I have always been a sport enthusiast and a fitness freak but never so fond of running. However, last year I decided to attempt running purely for fitness reasons and also to satiate my fetish for attempting the new. And it turned out to be quite an experience to be part of a marathon training group and subsequently run three 10k marathons. What I landed up learning while running is I realised what we all learn from life everyday. A few take-aways I would like to share here:
- Action – We all think of doing so much in life, but very few take the necessary steps to initiate an action plan. Dreams will only remain in our wish-list until we act upon them. Action counts.
- Motivation – Self-motivation is the key to achieve our goals. Life’s path, just like the running path, is uneven with several twists and ups and downs. What we constantly tell ourselves, the inner dialogue we have and how we push ourselves is what really matters at every step.
- Team Strength – When we work together in a group of like-minded people with common interests, the strength that we derive from each other is unparalleled. Being a part of an extremely enthusiastic training group (read related links below) has been highly inspiring and encouraging. A big reason I could push myself out of the bed in the early hours and put on the running shoes.
- Setting goals – When I began training, I could barely complete 1km. of constant running. Then I started setting small goals – running up to that electric pole without stopping, running on a trot until 5 songs on my playlist got done, running for 20 minutes non-stop, etc. and thereby gradually increasing the targets. Within a few weeks of training, I could manage to run my first 10k marathon! Setting short-term goals is the key to long-term success. Small steps lead to bigger steps; small achievements lead to bigger achievements.
- Mind over body – In running as in life, it is the mind that rules over the body. Runners often suffer from cramps mid-way through the marathon, get dehydrated or have to face extreme climatic conditions. It is their unflinching will-power that keeps them going towards the finish line. So in life, we got to endure with our inner strength to move ahead and hurdle all tribulations until we reach our destination.
Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t
- Slowing down – During the course of my training, I experienced discomforting pain in my knee for the first time. I had to let it heal and was forced to take a break. In life too, sometimes situations leave us with no choice but to take a pause. It is then essential to rejuvenate and restart.
- Enjoying the journey – As kids we were taught that participating in activities is more important than winning. And as adults we also realise that it’s enjoying the journey that counts as much as reaching the destination. Being out in the open close to nature in the wee hours of the morning, with uplifting music for company and great team spirit around, made the experience a lot more fun. Not to mention the exuberance of finishing a marathon. In which ways are you making your life’s journey enjoyable?
- Getting out of our comfort zone – Every instance in life when I decided to venture into something seemingly difficult, I have grown immensely as an individual. My self-confidence took a huge leap. It is extremely vital to stretch ourselves every once in a while, challenging our resilience and expanding it. Growth truly lies in stepping out of our comfort zones.
- You are on your own – You start, you run the marathon and you finish on your own. Even though everyone is running together towards the same finish line, you are alone in your race. People will advise and encourage and be around, but you got to run to the finish line on your own. You and your thoughts. You and your self-talk. You and your journey. Isn’t it just the same in life?
Featured image courtesy: Pixabay