Why Everyone Should Try Running Long Distance

I’ve always been a runner. When I was just 4 years old my parents put me in Baseball and I told them “Mom this is boring, there isn’t enough running.” So they told me I had to finish the season. I had to learn commitment, (thanks dad) but after that I’d never have to do it again. Then they enrolled me in soccer.

I was hooked, and never looked back. I was a one sport kid growing up, and I loved every second of it. I spent hours looking up drills to get faster and to cut my 40 time just tenths of a second down. I worked hard, and it showed. I made ODP (Olympic Development Program) teams and started on the 16th ranked in the nation High school team. I traveled to vegas and La and practiced on Pro teams as I tried out. I ranked my self against the fastest of the fastest and came within their ranks.

Due to circumstances outside of my control, I didn’t make soccer as a career path and continued through college like a regular droid. But running never left. I was sprinting and running 2-5 miles to stay in shape. Keeping my speed up because I need competition in my life. I thrive from the challenge. Be it for athleticism or for achieving music (another story completely) I need a goal in my life. So I continued to run.

THEN I decided I wanted to run a marathon. This one decision changed my life in a way that was unforeseen. Now let me tell you why I run more than the typical american will bike.

To get to the point where you can throw your body down on the pavement a couple million times to run 26.2+ miles takes a level of commitment that rivals nothing else that I have experienced. It takes time to train, and determination not to give up. It keeps you in shape and keeps your whole life more on track. With a long day at work/school you can go for a run and sweat the pain away. Bang the drama out with each step. If you so desire, you can start the day with a run and this boosts various levels of chemicals in your body to promote a healthier and better life. (Just go to google and type “Running Boosts” and see what drops down. Do some research. Be amazed.)

But I digress. All this is amazing and beautiful and gives you a reason to go outside and run, but it’s not the reason I run long distances. Cause frankly, most of those happen when you do anything active. The reason I run long distances is because of the Wall and how it presents itself to me. When I want to just stop and give up, when I don’t want to put one more foot in front of the other, when I don’t even think I can crawl another inch, I don’t stop. I run faster and I push myself harder. My life lays out before me in perfect clarity and I can get a moment of pure zen. When I push through that wall, it’s like the world is a different place. I’m in a place that is basically impossible to explain, but I’ll try anyway.

After that terrible fight with the wall, and after I break through it, I can think about anything with such a sense of clarity. I can focus on what I need to do, and how to make it happen. I can see the beauty in the pain, and I can feel my body shaping into something new. I can almost feel my brain growing from that mental block of breaking through the wall. The sense of accomplishment that comes with breaking the wall is insane. Knowing that you are able to fight all parts of your body and mind and fight through it and accomplish fighting through it, leaves you with a feeling of pure accomplishment. It gives you faith for the rest of your life and the challenges you fight.

I think everyone needs to experience this and learn this level of commitment for their own lives. You don’t need to break any world records in time, but just finishing will give you a sense of accomplishment that you will never know otherwise. It will show you that you can indeed do anything you set your mind too if you’re willing to put the proper time and work into it.

Once you do it once, who knows, you may be hooked for life and you’ll be left finding the next challenge to overcome…? (#olympics2016) Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Flickr / Stijlfoto

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