As humans, we usually look for the easy way out. We want to know how to hack the system. How can I do this faster? How can I do it easier? How can I do it with the least amount of effort? When given the choice between difficult and easy, I think most people would choose easy. However, this is not the case with running. Running is hard and many people choose to do it anyway.
As a runner, you have to push yourself. Sometimes you have to push yourself just to take the first step, and the second, and the third. It’s common to feel discomfort for a mile or two as your body adjusts to the movement. Even after your body adjusts, you can still feel discomfort. If you increase your pace or run over a hill, your body will feel it and sometimes protest. There are days when you feel pain and days when you can’t seem to control your breathing. Some days your legs feel exceedingly heavy and every step requires extra effort just to move forward. Even recovery days can be uncomfortable as your body focuses on repairing and rebuilding itself. Running is hard.
As a runner, your mind will often deceive you. People are naturally drawn to a certain level of comfort and pushing oneself beyond that level can cause the mind to behave like a frustrated toddler. Your mind will use whatever means necessary to get what it wants, to return to that comfort level. It will tell you to stop running, sometimes repeatedly. Like an enemy on an attack mission, it will fire at you with your own insecurities and attempt to convince you to give up. You have to retaliate with truth to keep going. Running is hard.
So, why do I continue to do something that I know is hard? Why do I push myself through the physical and mental discomfort, and the pain, instead of just taking the easy way out? Why do I love running? I love it because it makes me stronger. My body and my mind have responded to running in remarkable ways. What I thought was hard last year, or even last month, is no longer difficult. With each run, my brain is retrained to accept a new reality. Every time that I push myself beyond what I thought was possible, new possibilities emerge.
Choosing to do something hard does not come from a place of discontentment. It comes from a desire to grow. I will never know what I am truly capable of if I never seek to challenge my perceived capabilities.
Don’t settle for easy. Whether you choose to run or not, choose to do something you perceive as hard. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Each day offers a choice: remain stagnant or grow. Choose to grow.