A few days ago, while running on the wonderful forest trails of NW Florida with my beach retreat participants, I realized that everyone was feeling good, sharing positive thoughts and stories. Only fifteen minutes earlier, the conversation not as upbeat. The attitude boost and vitality increase from running can enhance our life—on every run. What a gift!
Studies show that runners have about the highest levels of positive attitude factors, and the lowest readings on the depressive scale. Running changes us for the better in many ways. The best change to me is how you can feel empowered during and after a run, and during a training program.
Even during the bad runs of my first running season, almost 50 years ago, I felt better at the end. But the primary running mission during my first 20 years of running was competition, and I experienced a continuous roller coaster of frustrating experiences—up after one race, and down after the next 3-5. Just when I decided that I wasn’t going to improve and should quit, the very next run gave me an indescribable glow that I have not experienced in any other area of life.
Every week I try to help competitive runners understand the big picture. Even if their only running mission is a faster time in a race, runners tend to be more successful when they can back off the pace, every other run. These restorative, transcendental aerobic experiences help the body repair as they inject a dose of optimism. When I stopped doing regular speedwork I was amazed to find that I was just as invigorated after a slow run as from a fast one. Today, I enjoy every run, 6-7 days a week.
The easy runs allow us to plan the week, solve problems while imparting a uniquely positive approach to the day. So as you set your goals for the New Year, be sure to include time on each run to enjoy the endorphins.
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