6 Lessons Learned from 6 Months of Running

Running has always been a part of my life. When I was a kid, I would watch Ethiopian long-distance runners push the boundaries of human potential in the 5k, 10k, marathon races. In high school, I ran the mile every week for a grade. In college, I did sporadic midnight runs to process complex feelings. Yet, I didn’t consider myself a runner. Six months ago, everything changed on my birthday when I did my first guided run with the Nike Run Club app.

When I first started to run consistently, I never imagined the impact it would have on my life. Now, 6 months, 316 km, 46 hours of running later, I can confidently say that the lessons I’ve learned from my running journey have helped me become a better version of myself. Whether it’s learning to breaking through barriers or finding the courage to leave old habits behind, here are 6 lessons that have changed my perspective.

1. Every Run Has A Purpose

Every single run has a unique purpose. Whether you are training for a race or simply trying to improve your fitness level, it is important to approach each run with intention. 

Think about it like this: running is like building a house. Every time you go for a run, you are laying a brick. And just like building a house, you can’t just lay bricks randomly and expect to end up with a solid structure. You need a plan, a blueprint, and a purpose.

So, what are some of the purposes of a run? Here are a few:

– Building endurance: Long, slower runs can help build endurance and prepare you for longer races or events.

– Speed work: Short, intense runs help improve speed and performance.

– Recovery: Easy runs can help your body recover from harder workouts.

– Mental health: Running can be a great way to clear your mind, reduce stress, and improve your overall mental health.

When you approach each run with a purpose, you are more likely to stay motivated, avoid injury, and see progress. So, next time you’re on the road, think about what you want to get out of that run. Maybe it’s to push yourself a little harder, or maybe it’s just to enjoy the fresh air and clear your mind. Whatever the purpose, remember that every run is important and has its place in building a strong foundation for your running journey.

2. You Don’t Hate Running, You Just Don’t Know How to Run

Many people think they hate running, but the truth is, they just don’t know how to run. If you’re struggling with running, it’s important to start with an easy effort.

Beginning every run with an easy effort is crucial for several reasons. First, it allows your body to warm up gradually, which can help prevent injury. Second, it helps you get into a rhythm and build endurance. Finally, it can make running feel more enjoyable.

When you start a run, focus on maintaining a comfortable pace. It should be a pace that allows you to carry on a conversation without feeling out of breath. As you continue to run, you can gradually increase your pace and effort.

Think of running like learning a new language. You wouldn’t start by trying to read an advanced book or hold a complex conversation. You would start with simple phrases and build your way up. Running is the same way. Start with an easy effort and gradually build your way up to longer distances and faster paces.

Remember, running is a journey, not a destination. It takes time and practice to become a proficient runner. But if you start with an easy effort and stick with it, you may find that you don’t hate running after all.

3. The Only Interval that Exists is the One You’re In

As a new runner, you may find yourself constantly thinking about the next interval, the next mile, or the next thing on your to-do list after your run. It’s easy to get caught up in thoughts about the next interval or how much further you have to go. However, it’s important to remember that the only interval that truly matters is the one you are currently running in.

Every step you take, every breath you make, is an interval in itself. The only interval that exists is the run you’re running. Don’t let the future distract you from the present.

Think of it this way: when you’re in the middle of a run, it’s like being in the middle of a book. You can’t skip ahead to the end and expect to get the full experience. You have to read each page, each sentence, each word, in order to fully understand and appreciate the story.

Likewise, you have to run each step, each interval, in order to fully appreciate the experience of running. Don’t rush through it, don’t wish it away. Embrace the present moment and enjoy the journey.

4. Running Crowds Out Bad Habits Like Smoking

Running isn’t just about getting physically fit or training for a marathon. It’s about building discipline, developing a healthy lifestyle, and adopting an identity. One of the most significant benefits of being a runner is that it can help crowd out bad habits like smoking.

Before I started my running journey, I was a habitual smoker. When I began to run, I became more aware of my body and how it functions. I become more attuned to my breathing, heart rate, and overall health. This heightened awareness can helped me recognize the negative impact of smoking on my body. I had to make a choice: smoker or runner.

One of the most significant moments in my 6 months journey was the run where I found my mantra “I’m a runner, not a smoker. I’m a runner, not a smoker! I’m a runner! Not a smoker!”

Since then, running replaced smoking as my go-to stress reliever. When I have a long day at work or a challenging situation arises, going for a run helps me cope better than lighting up a cigarette. Exercise produces endorphins that make you feel good, and it’s a natural way to release stress and tension.

Running also provides a sense of accomplishment and pride that smoking simply cannot match. The feeling of reaching a new personal best or finishing a race is something that smokers miss out on. It’s a feeling of empowerment that reinforces the positive habit of running.

In conclusion, running isn’t just a physical activity; it’s a way of life that can help you develop healthy habits and crowd out the bad ones. If you’re a smoker looking to quit, consider taking up running. It may just be the push you need to leave your bad habit behind and become a healthier, more disciplined version of yourself.

5. Breaking Through to Get Stronger

Running can be a challenging and demanding activity for both beginners and experienced runners. However, it is through the process of breaking through our limits that we become stronger and more resilient. This principle applies not only in running but also in life.

The only way to get stronger is to push ourselves beyond our current limitations. When we do so, we learn to handle more and become better equipped to face challenges that come our way. In running, this means gradually increasing our distance or speed to avoid hitting a plateau. In life, it means stepping out of our comfort zone and taking risks.

Just like how a runner needs to build up their endurance, we also need to build up our emotional and mental resilience. When we hit a rough patch in life, we need to be able to handle it and bounce back stronger than before. We can only do this by pushing ourselves to our limits and breaking through them.

Resilience is like lifting weights. If we want to get stronger, we need to lift heavier weights over time. Similarly, if we want to become more resilient, we need to face tougher challenges and overcome them. By breaking through our limits, we increase our capacity to handle adversity, and we become more confident and capable individuals.

So, the next time you hit a roadblock, remember that breaking through is the only way to get stronger. Embrace the challenge, push yourself beyond your limits, and become a stronger version of yourself.

6. Uncovering Greatness Through Running

Running is a sport that can teach us many life lessons, and one of the most important lessons we can learn is that greatness is not created, it is uncovered. Just like how running allows us to uncover our physical potential, it can also help us uncover our mental and emotional potential.

When we start running, we may struggle to complete even a mile. But over time, with dedication and practice, we can run farther and faster than we ever thought possible. The same goes for life. We may feel like we are not capable of achieving our goals, but with hard work and determination, we can surprise ourselves with what we are truly capable of.

Another lesson running teaches us is the importance of consistency. We cannot become great runners overnight, just as we cannot become great at anything overnight. It takes consistent effort and practice to uncover our true potential. The same goes for life. If we want to achieve greatness, we must show up every day and put in the work, even when it’s hard.

Running also teaches us to embrace the discomfort. Whether it’s pushing through the pain of a long run or the discomfort of trying something new, we learn that growth often comes from stepping outside of our comfort zones. The same goes for life. If we want to uncover our greatness, we must be willing to take risks and face challenges head-on.

When I started my blog, I started with these principles of running in mind. At first, keeping up a weekly blog seemed like an impossible task. But, I knew I was capable of surprising myself by how much I could learn along the way if I stepped out of my comfort zone like I did with running. And, even though I perceive my blog as insignificant in the world wide web, I can appreciate the consistency and commitment I have shown on my goal so far.


In only 6 months, running has changed my life in an unbelievable fashion. I learned how to run with purpose, how to run the right way, and how to stay in the present on a run. I also learned to leave my bad habits behind in pursuit of a better, stronger, more resilient version of myself. And finally, I learned how to uncover the greatness that was inside of me all along. I hope this post inspires you to begin your running journey too!

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