A half marathon is something that I have had on my bucket list since I was 15. It has been one of those things that I feel everyone has done, but I just haven't been able to get there. However, this summer, I told myself this was the year I would do it. I trained for a short eight weeks and finally DID IT! It was terrific to finally cross that box off my bucket list. Yet, the things I learned while training was more incredible. When you push your body to new limits, you know more about who you are and what you are capable of! Below is what I learned:
01. I still had some work to do on my relationship with my body
I used to work out because I felt like I had to. And I think this is why training for a half marathon never worked for me before. Honestly, I wanted to do it because, in my mind, I thought all of the long runs would help me lose weight. It was always weight focused. When training rolled around, I would tell myself, “I have to do this run,” which made the entire process miserable.
When I signed up for this half marathon, it was the first time I did it without weight loss being the underlying motive. I signed up. After all, I wanted a new challenge because I knew I was strong and capable. I changed my mindset to “I get to do this run.” This made me appreciate my body much more. I was no longer running because I hated my body but because I loved it and knew what it could do.
02. I needed to remember to appreciate what my body allows me to do
This leads me right to the second thing I learned a new appreciation for what my body can do. This boosted my body image because I focused less on aesthetics and my strengths. I no longer saw big legs with cellulite when I looked in the mirror. Instead, I saw strong legs that helped me run 8 miles. It was not until I switched my mindset to this new perspective that my body image truly increased.
Also, whenever I had a bad body image day (because let's be real, they are inevitable), I instantly reminded myself of what my body allowed me to do. I focused on how far I had come in my half marathon training, the runs I had done, and what I had achieved, and it helped me start to feel better about my stomach rolling over my jeans when I sat.
03. My body is as strong as my mind allows it to be
Our bodies are so capable. They are stronger than we think and essentially as strong as our mind allows them to be. When I began to run distances further than I had ever run before, it came down to my mind pushing me through the struggle, not my body. I knew I had to do these runs to be ready for the half marathon, but some days that was still not enough motivation. When feeling tired or unmotivated, I would recite positive thoughts repeatedly in my head, which brought me to the finish line. From all the training, I had the physical fitness to do these runs, but it all came down to what I believed and where I would take my mind during these runs that allowed me to accomplish them.
I highly recommend it if you have yet to run a half marathon. Not only for the runners high but for the lessons you learn about yourself when you push your body to new limits! How incredible are our freaking bodies, amirite?