What Running Can Teach You About Discipline

What Running Can Teach You About Discipline
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Are you one of those people who are disciplined at times but not all the time? Do you have the ability to be disciplined with something for a week but then get less and less consistent over time?

Discipline isn’t something that people are born with. Our brains aren’t wired to be disciplined. Running can teach you a lot about discipline through daily struggle. Every day isn’t supposed to be easy but some days will be easier than others.

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Running Helps You Fight The Mental Friction

Why do people run marathons or ultra marathons? The entirety of the race isn’t enjoyable. It’s not the same level of enjoyment that you would have going out to dinner with friends.

In life, we have to do things we don’t want. Maybe you have a job that you don’t like or know that you need to get in shape but you hate working out.

You might hate eating healthy food but you know that it is what you will need for your long-term health success.

Even if you love running, there will be days that you will feel that mental friction of not wanting to go out on a run. Learning to resist that mental friction is a critical life skill. It’s what separates excellence from the average.

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Showing Up Everyday Is Greater Than Your Single Best Effort

We can’t make our best effort every day. It’s impossible. Not every day is going to be a 10 out of 10 day for all of us.

It’s easy to get into that mindset where if you feel like you’re not going to give your best effort, you shouldn’t do it. This couldn’t be more wrong. Keeping the chain of consistency going is the best thing that you can do.

When you show up every day, you tell yourself that you care about what you are doing.

In my own life, there have been years I have wasted incorporating speed workouts into my running routine because I decided that I didn’t want to do them if I wasn’t going to be able to give my best effort. All this led to was me playing some mental gymnastics game where the bar for me to feel like doing them would never be achieved. It wasn’t until I started to show up that I made progress in my speed training.

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It’s Easy To Default To What You Know

We all get into our routines. Routines are comfortable. However, routines can make us stagnant.

If you’ve ever felt like you’ve been coasting in life, consider changing up your routine and jumping out of your comfort zone.

It’s easy to go on that basic 3-mile run that you do every day. However, if you do that every day, you will get to a point where you won’t see any progress. Your mind and body will eventually set that as a new baseline.

Getting out of your comfort zone is the only way to raise that baseline.

Discipline Isn’t Consistent In All Areas Of Your Life

While most of the days that I do an early morning run, I find that the rest of the day seems to be easier. The mental friction seems to get smoother. This isn’t always the case.

Discipline isn’t consistent in every area of your life. You can be the most disciplined person in the world when it comes to your fitness but doesn’t that mean you will be disciplined when it comes to how you act with your family and relationship?

While I feel like running can certainly help that, it’s not always the case. Just because you are disciplined in running doesn’t mean that you will have better discipline in managing your finances or keeping your house in order.

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Goal Planning Is Never Perfect

It’s great to have a plan for your goals but they will seldom go perfect. If you’ve ever trained for a marathon before you will know this well. Having a plan for your goal provides a great structure for what you are supposed to do but progress will seldom align with what you have on paper.

Even though the plan isn’t perfect, it’s infinitely better than not having a plan at all. When you don’t have a plan, it’s easy to become anxious and give up. This is especially true when you are trying to achieve something difficult.

Imagine signing up for that marathon that you’ve always wanted to sign up for. You make a detailed plan for it. About 7 or 8 weeks into the training, you stray afar from your training. Maybe an entire week of training has been lost and you don’t know where to pick up on your training. This is an opportunity to use your plan as an infrastructure to keep getting back on track with your training. Instead of quitting altogether, try to get back on track. Maybe you won’t complete your training but that’s okay. When it comes to race day, you should show up anyway and see what you’ve got.

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