Lessons From Running, How Running Became Therapy for This Non-Runner

Running for therapy is truly therapy. You’ve heard it before but it’s true. Running has taught me more about life and myself than any other thing I’ve ever undertaken.

First of all, let me say that I never considered myself a runner. As a matter of fact, I used to qualify myself as a ‘hate running’ type person.

Here are a few misconceptions I had about running before I started doing it seriously:

  • It has always seemed to me like an elitist sport.
  • People who ran were lean and strong.
  • I’ve always associated running with people who were fit, strong and overall healthy.

Years later I decided to lose some weight after my second child and I turned to running. I didn’t own a bike and the pool and fitness centers were miles away. Plus, I didn’t feel I had the means to pay for equipment or memberships. So I began running. Again. For some reason, this time I caught the bug.

It wasn’t until years later, when I again felt the need to lose weight and bump up my almost non-existent exercise routine that I started running again. Actually, it started with simply walking.

I was motivated to get up early and walk every morning. Soon, that wasn’t enough for me and I’d start jogging a few hundred meters at a time. I’d think, just to the next lamppost or that tree up there. Then I’d walk again. Then up and off I was again building my momentum. Finally, months later I was up to mainly running. It felt great! This died off some as I got into my new start-up business.

One day I had a bit of a breakthrough. I had an argument with my husband who was at work. I worked from the home and I was so angry at the end of that conversation that I was ready to start throwing things. For some reason, I decided to go for a walk and “burn off steam”. When I finished my 45 minute walk, I felt not only much calmer I couldn’t remember why I had been so angry with my husband. It was a light bulb moment because if walking could do that for me, then imagine what running could do for my stress.

And that is when the running saved me. I would get really upset and take it outside. Everyday, I would burn off my stress by taking it outside and start running. I found that running calmed my runaway thoughts. Then it started helping me to think better. Once I got the emotion out, I had room for more rational thoughts. Things didn’t look as scary after a run. Thoughts that would have me waking up drenched in sweat at 3 am wouldn’t seem so bad to me. I had better answers after my runs.

Running didn’t save my business (it was too far gone) but it saved me from going over the edge. In the end, it was only a business. I came out of it a marathoner and a runner (and still alive). I learned that running helped balance me. I’m a high energy person. I need running to burn off that extra energy that when I’m not in a good place gets turned into frustration and anger. Things that used to upset me before I became a runner couldn’t upset me once I was running regularly. It was like why waste the energy on that. I’ve got more important things to do like go run!