I’ve had a “no pavement” rule for years, so trails are my surface of choice. The cushy ground is more forgiving on my often unhappy calves and hamstrings. Some days it takes more time to arrive at the trailhead and back home than I spend running. While I may question my time management driving to the trail, I know even the shortest runs provide perspective. Trail miles rarely fail me.
A long to-do list yesterday meant a shorter run, but the threat of an upcoming race was my motivation to hit the trail. It usually takes a couple miles to settle in, but on this day it didn’t take long to be reminded of the many nuggets and nourishment that comes from a run.
- Forest Air: It’s hard to top fresh forest air in the lungs. Time in the woods has been linked to increased mental and physical health. The Japanese call it “forest bathing” – I call it necessity.
- Endorphin Boost: We know running triggers endorphins, but did you know endorphins are also released when we smile? That’s right, the benefit from a smile can last longer than your run. I’ll bet you an energy gel you won’t regret smiling the next time you pass someone on the trail.
- Creativity: While not every idea I get on a run turns out to be a good one, the simple act of running is a springboard for inspired thinking and turns my passions into possibilities. The trails and trees have become a force for entrepreneurship.
- Courage: Fear can be paralyzing and prevent us from taking a leap, moving forward, and achieving our goals. If only we could bottle up the confidence we gain while running and pop it open as needed. I’m working on marketing this idea (see # 3) but until then I’m learning to stop the negative self-talk and take courage from the trail off the trail.
- Grit: Life is messy. Life is dirty. Life is difficult. Don’t shy away from mud puddles on the trail or in life—charge though them with an indomitable spirit. While the hardest trail run or race may not top the challenges I’ll face in life, at least I’ll know I can persevere though adversity.
What little nuggets has running taught you?