February 21 2018
What does it mean when you shed happy tears while crossing a finish line? A behavioral analyst weighs in.
It’s a pretty simple formula: if you plan your training carefully, meet your mileage goals and fit in some cross-training, you’ll become a better runner. Obvious, right? But what’s less obvious is how being a runner can make you better at a lot of other things. The characteristics inherent to most runners can pull double duty when it comes to the other roles you play your daily life. Read on to learn the way your awesome running habit makes you an even better…
Raising kids is no joke. From the social pressures to the crazy schedules to the never-ending to-do list, moms arguably need the relaxation of running more than anyone else. And while you may feel some mom-guilt for taking a little time for yourself, you’re actually becoming a better mom in the process. When you’re training for a race, you learn determination and stamina, which can get you through the toughest tantrum or the longest college application process. When you grind through your daily workouts you’re gaining a clear head and good mood, key to putting you in the right frame of mind to guide your kids through potty-training or homework. And when you commit to your fitness routine despite your hectic schedule, you are setting an admirable example for your kids and teaching them how to lead a healthy lifestyle.
While working a full-time job can leave little time for your workouts, it’s so worth it to make running a priority, not only for yourself but also for your job performance. A runner’s qualities read like the résumé of the perfect job applicant. Ever trained for a race? You’re obviously focused, goal-oriented and determined. Rearranged your entire schedule to fit in a run on a busy day? You’re clearly flexible yet organized. Don’t forget the benefits of running a quick couple of miles on your lunch break; you’ll have a crazy-productive afternoon thanks to the energy-boosting, mind-clearing exercise.
Related: How To Get Your “Runch”—Lunch Run—On
When you start seriously running, you quickly learn how important the right foods are to properly fueling your workouts. A vending machine snack or a bowl of cereal for dinner may have worked before, but those kinds of choices won’t cut it for a runner. Running encourages you to learn about nutrition, explore new foods and teach yourself to make delicious, good-for-you meals. Before long you’re carrying homemade granola bars in your gym bag and preparing magazine-worthy smoothie bowls before work (and probably spending a little extra time on the treadmill just to watch your favorite cooking shows).
Sure, if you’re lucky enough to count a few fellow runners as friends, it’s easy to spend time together. You run, you chat, you get a workout and quality time, all in one. But what about your non-running pals? Well, just like they prioritize running and fit in their workouts because it’s important to them, runners know how to find creative ways to make time for the friendships they value. Maybe you meet for a pre-run latte or a post-run brunch, maybe you grab a bite on your lunch hour or do your errands together. The point is, if you can schedule six workouts a week, you can definitely commit to a monthly happy hour with your BFF.
To be clear, runners are not superior to the rest of society (despite what a lot of bumper stickers and internet memes might say). But runners do tend to develop a lot of characteristics that make them really great people to be around. Compassion (that time you helped out a fellow runner struggling with her training), humility (when you finished that race way slower than you planned), gratitude (reflecting on your abilities that you took for granted after you got injured), resilience (running a bad race and immediately signing up for the next one), patience (when you first started running and had to increase your mileage one lap around the block at a time)— these are all traits that running imparts and that in turn make you an all-around awesome person.