Career Lessons from Running: Week 1 of 14

Starting the run is the most important part of the run.

I signed up for a 10 mile (16.1km ) race, coming up in 8 weeks. It will be the second time that I will be running this race, my first being last April and I shared about it on my LinkedIn. As I embark on yet another race preparation, I wanted to share my reflections both as a form of accountability and also to journal the parallels that I tend to draw between running and life and of course, the dimension of life that relates to our work.

I only started running altogether, just about 18 months ago. I picked up running when I was struggling to recover post-partum. Not just to shed the baby weight, but also to work through my mental energies; plus my joints were failing me. I needed to get stronger and fitter and fight for my well-being. I love to be outdoors but I needed something that I could do at no cost and with minimal planning and a little more challenging than my usual walks. Inspired by my husband who is a 3 times Marathon finisher, I picked up running (and intermittent fasting) and that is the long and short of how I went from couch potato to the runner I am today.

I just completed the first week of my 14 week training plan on the Nike Running App (I swear by it because Coach Bennet and Co. really helped me find the athlete in me, and no, this is not a sponsored Ad). I run 5 days a week, rest for 2 days and each week, my runs are a mix of speed, recovery and one long run, which becomes longer as the plan progresses. Yesterday, I completed a 3.1 mile run (5K) to crown the first week of 14 and my first week of running. Here is my biggest lesson this week:

Starting the Run is the most important part of the Run

Its not everyday that the inspiration to run comes around. Actually, several months after I started running (with a combination of other factors), I was no longer struggling so much with the issues I had post-partum that had pushed me to pick up running in the first place. As a matter of fact, when I start to run 8K and 10K effortlessly and consistently week after week, I was in the best shape of my life, so much so that it was harder to find real motivation to keep running. I felt great, and my goal was to feel great and that ladies and gentlemen, is how we can easily plateau after a momentary high.

Day to day, life also gets in the way. Busy schedules, lack of a good night sleep, broken routines especially after business trips or vacations, and generally the unpredictability of life as it happens. Even when I feel fired up to run, things can happen and somehow, running doesn’t make it to the top of the to-do list. Towards the end of last year (when I was really at the peak of my running game), I adulted so much that I could not run at all for close to 3 months.

So for me, every time I put on my running shoes, get out the door and take the first step, I already feel accomplished. It is a cause for celebration! The odds of adulting are that I have something else pretty urgent or more important that I could be doing, but there I am, starting a run and beating the odds of that day.

And careers are the same way, aren’t they? It is not what we eventually become as the career progresses, although that is also important. It is the fact that we started. We all need to start somewhere in order to be on to something. Some of us start out very ambitious perhaps pursuing a childhood dream, and some of us start out a job- any job- because that was what was available and we needed to make ends meet or get our foot in the door of the job market. Whatever the reason that got us started, the important thing to acknowledge is that we got started and we can only grow from there.

I have had so many days that I struggled to start a run, and I ended up not running at all. But I am so thankful that I started running altogether. I did not believe it at first when Coach Bennet (from the Nike Run App) would say that the moment I challenged myself to pick up running was the day I became a runner. At the time, each run was a real struggle, I did not feel like a runner. But what makes a runner the runner is that they run. They show up. And so, nothing could be truer.

Even now, after 3 months or so of not running at all, in the last one week, I was able to get back to the start line and at the end of the week, I run 5K. It was not easy though. Each day this week, I had to beat every excuse not to run, work was busy and I was handling some complex issues, I had to beat the cold and I run in sub-zero temperatures. I was also quite jet-lagged so my stamina was close to none. I moved to a new neighborhood so the hills on my new running routes are a real pain. A million excuses not to run. But I have a race coming up and I need to prepare. So I showed up each day.

And the more I show up everyday, little by little, that effort adds up. Looking back at last year, starting the runs on most days was not easy and I missed a lot of days. Yet I also accomplished a lot. In six months, I run 50 times in total and outdid myself each time. I started from a record of zero to running 10K twice, 12K twice, 8K twice and several 5K runs in addition to the regular runs. I run my first ever race of 10 miles (16.1 whole kilometers). Got my first ever sports medal. I run the farthest and had my fastest records. And importantly, enjoyed every minute of it.

And so, here, I begin again. Another start line. This time, not because I am fighting for anything, but because I have fallen in love with running. And I hope you too, can always find a reason to start, again and over again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s