“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it's all that matters.” ― Audrey Hepburn
After years of interacting with many athletes, patterns start to show themselves.
The pattern relating to happiness is that runners have their best training and racing when they are happy and enjoying themselves the most.
It does not matter what comes first, a happy runner or great training/racing. What's important is that they fit together and affect each other as they come and go.
Here are some reminders on how to cultivate happiness in your running life!
Appreciate Running Be grateful that you are lucky enough to experience the joy of finding your stride, of breaking down barriers, and the occasional runner's high. Running is a wondrous activity, don't take it for granted.
Be Optimistic Always see the handheld bottle as half full. Every occasion has a positive side and there is always something you can learn. Side stitches say you're probably eating too much before the run or starting out too fast. A personal best speaks highly of your training over the previous months. Be mindful and learn.
Do What You Enjoy Do you thrive with logging long slow distance? Do that. If trails are your thing, stay off the road! No matter what the latest research or that old guy that has ran 40 marathons tells you, the type of training and workouts that make you happiest, will result in the greatest outcomes.
Inspire and Help Others The best way to help yourself is to help others. Be accessible to and patient with newer athletes or those that have not taken that first step yet.
Take Care of Yourself Running fitness comes from stressing the body and allowing it to build itself back up. A little hard work is necessary, but you must have the health to do this. Sleep, nutrition, working on running form, and improving strength are all important to support your athletics.
Think Long term Recognize that running is a long term endeavor. Don't stress over missed individual workouts, they do not matter. It's the weeks on top of months that are of importance. Cramming in training before a race works less well than cramming in studying before an exam.