Running. In my opinion, one of the most mentally challenging sports. Requiring more mental stamina than a 10-hour chess match, philosophy, and watching boring documentaries in class combined. This is the sport I love to hate. As a soccer player from age 4-14 I am aware of at least 10 different ways to punish kids using running. Sprints, line drills, laps, and then when you’re done with that, how ’bout you run some more?…for the sport, you know. This is how my hatred of running began. However, in my 23rd year of life I have decided that running can build self-discipline, mental endurance, and the reason most people run– for the
pure enjoyment fitness benefits.
I want to want to run. If that makes sense. The first few times I ran I absolutely hated it, did not enjoy it one ounce. Now that I am running more often it isn’t as tiring, but as long as it took to get to this point it only takes about 1 week of not running to lose some of that distance and stamina.
I’m talking about running, but the topic I’m really trying to get to is mental endurance/ self-discipline. As my running increases, my self-discipline increases and consequently I feel better about myself and can make myself do things I don’t want to do. When I see a pile of dishes and I really don’t want to do them (and want to blog/text/eat/do anything else instead) I can tell that little voice inside my head no. For me, the whole time I’m running there is a little voice inside my head saying “you’re tired, you can’t breathe, that hill is steep, did you just step on dog poop?”…you get the idea. So the whole time I’m running, I’m practicing my self-discipline and I’m learning to master that crazy, no-good, pessimistic voice inside my head.
Unintended benefits of running: higher self-esteem, greater self-discipline, higher level of fitness, and better prayer life…
Yes. Better prayer life. You heard right. When I don’t feel like praying, that pessimistic voice inside my head is quelled by me and my self-discipline. Gained from running, I counter that voice with the knowledge that God is waiting for me to talk to him. Even though I may not feel like praying, I know I should and so I do.
Thank you, running, dreaded sport you are for helping me achieve higher self-esteem, self-discipline, and a better prayer life.