I have been an avid runner for over 15 years.
I have received a lot of valuable advice in that time. The advice has come from running experts, coaches, online research, and fellow runners.
I know what shoes are best for my feet, the value in warming up (and cooling down), and how to pace myself in a race of (almost) any distance. I have learned to run my own race and to opt out of the comparison game. Although I'm still very much a work-in-progress, I'm thankful for all that I've learned.
The most valuable lesson, though, has come from my own experience...and that is to always be grateful.
Gratitude, for me at least, stems from a positive attitude. Not every experience in one's running shoes is gonna feel victorious or euphoric. The key is finding something good, even when things feel quite the contrary.
Be grateful for the heat on the streets, because I'm able to be outside in the sunshine. Not every runner has that option (depending on their work schedule, family obligations, time constraints or injury status). If you can learn to appreciate a hot, sweaty run, you'll be able to withstand most anything. Your cooler-season running will feel much easier
Be grateful for the treadmill (if you have access to one), because it can be a necessary option if/when you don't wish to be outside. As much as I curse, belittle and begrudge my treadmill, I am thankful I always have it as a back-up plan (more like a last resort LOL).
Be grateful for the wind in your face, because it will cool you off on a hot summer day. Granted, it's not always fun to fight the wind, on foot or on wheels, but it can serve as a cooling vice. It's a slightly different scene in the winter, when the wind feels too cold most days...it is then that it acts as a character-building, mind-over-matter test of one's true grit and determination.
Be grateful for the hill that nearly killed you, because you will be stronger for having fought it. Hills not only help us build strength (by fighting gravity), but they also increase our cardio output because of the stronger, more concerted effort needed to climb them.
Be grateful for the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) that make you wince with every step, because that's a sign that you worked your muscles well. They will be strengthened from the workout that made them hurt.
Be grateful for the early-morning "brain fog" that has you yearning for an extra hour of sleep. Getting up early, for a "wake-up workout" will help you jump-start your day. Even better, take it outside...the sunrise will invigorate you, and make it all worthwhile.
Be grateful for the ability to walk when you're not able to run, because there are many side-lined runners who don't have that as an option. Yeah, speaking from experience, it's really tough being forced into a running sabbatical. Currently, both running and walking are off limits for me, and I can assure you neither will be taken for granted upon their return.
Bottom line, I have learned to be grateful for all things fitness, especially every run that I am capable of doing. Not every run is fast, far or easy...but every run has something to appreciate.
What are your thoughts? Do you appreciate every run, good or not-so-good? Have you ever been sidelined? If so, for how long? Did you have a new sense of gratitude upon your return?