Why would I talk to that runner over there? Don’t think of him as a runner, think of him as a scantily-dressed person on a quest for self-improvement. Emotional health, forming a friendly not adversarial relationship with running, and joining a running group all count.
Running is one of the easiest ways to work on yourself. Non-runners can latch on to this forward momentum by hanging out with an intentional person or regularly observing purposeful behaviors.
However you manifest the energy of striving, deciding to take the first step, with action, changes your story.
Getting to know a runner, even if you don’t run, has several benefits.
1. Be inspired
The dogged commitment to put one foot in front of the other for miles, starting at the front door, is inspiring. Grit takes many forms.
2. Learn a healthy way to deal with stress
Except for the infrequent twisted ankle or fall, a runner rarely regrets going out for a run—for any length of time and in all weathers. It clears the head, creates emotional balance, and makes the world seem like a saner place.
3. Witness the behavior of someone who believes she is worth it
4. Witness a regular reminder that anyone can improve
One day, it will be you! Any day it could be you. Compare yourself not to the runner, but to who you were yesterday, last week, last year. We are all a work-in-progress.
5. Gain a friend
Runners tend to be thankful, happy, easy-going, and humble. They know good health is a gift to appreciate and nurture. Life is fraught and blessed. At any moment we could drop dead from a heart attack or an accident; next year might bring sore knees or a bad back. Savoring each moment, we are thankful for being able to run today.
Some runners are obsessed, high-strung, showy. Let them be. Find one with faded shoes, an old race shirt, and a smile on his face when he passes. If he doesn’t have time for a nod or a smile, that’s not the one, or not today.
What do I say to a runner?
- What’s the hardest part? (Surprisingly, getting out the door ranks high.)
- Do you ever feel like not running?
- Why did you start running?
- What is your favorite running movie? Running book?
- What do you like to listen to or think about while running?
- How do you feel when you don’t run?
What did the runner say that stuck with you?
Featured image by See Monterey on Flickr.