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10:03 pm - Thursday September 29, 2016

Building Character Through Long Distance Running

| Career, Psychology | Rating: 4.5
by Numan

I took part in a 10K race today (~6.25 miles). There is something powerful and motivating about running alongside several hundred other runners. I’ve been running long distances for 6 years now and I believe long distance running (or any endurance sport) are great character builders.

Some argue this is a ‘what came first – the hen or the egg?’ sort of argument. They argue some people posses the qualities required to practice long distance running or any endurance sport. From my experience it is quite the contrary.

The required stamina and mental strength can be built slowly and gradually through training. Each accomplishment makes you hungry for more and increases your belief in yourself. There is an increasing trend of executives who adopt the practice of endurance sports, especially triathlon, as another from of achievement and as something more to note on their resume.

I believe adopting an endurance sport can lead to changes in mentality and way of thinking, in addition to the clear physical benefits. Here are 5 major benefits gained by running long distances:

#1 Endurance
You’d be surprised what your body can take if you test it. The biggest difficulty in endurance sports is overcoming the mental difficulties. Overcoming this obstacle quickly develops your endurance for both physical and mental stress. Many people have a very low threshold for stress and pressure. Unfortunately these are very common in our modern lives. Running for long distances works-out your brain as well and help build the necessary immunities.

#2 Patience
Running for an hour obviously requires mental and physical endurance but it requires patience as well. When running an hour can last forever. Patience is a virtue when it comes to business. Business and market processes take time. Many great investors such as Warren Buffet and Jim Rogers preach to patience in investments (Buffet was once quoted to pick stocks which he was confident he could hold in case the market closes for 10 years). Believe me, endurance sports provide a great perspective on time.

#3 Competitiveness
I ran by tens of people today and I’m really not that fast. Something about coming in first is very basic in our psychology. Practicing competitive sports helps sharpen your competitive instincts and your hunger for success.

#4 Ambitiousness
I used to have a 1 mile route I used to run. When I completed my first mile jog I was delighted (I wasn’t in the best possible shape obviously). Feeling victorious just made me want to complete two laps the next time. It took some more time before I accomplished that but 4 and 6 laps weren’t so far behind. I believe being ambitious is required to being successful. Setting a goal and accomplishing it demonstrates this better then anything.

#5 Self Confidence
Physical self confidence is rapidly built when running for long distances (you’ll see amazing results in a couple of weeks to a month, especially if you’ve just started). The bigger benefit is the mental self confidence gained with each goal completion. Since running a 10k used to unachievable in my eyes completed it literally made me realise almost nothing is out of your reach. You’ll also notice self confidence radiates strongly to your surroundings and quickly changes their attitudes.

Fitness is becoming a new religion. I don’t believe in taking anything to extremes. However, I am certain long distance running is a great pass time both or your physical and mental health and well being.

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