Why Running Dreams Matter

Runner to runner, we get it.  Right? Running dreams are a big deal.

With the marathon behind me,  I started turning my attention to other things coming up for us as a family.  Some big life changes are possible… family goals, career directions, starting a business as a health coach, where we will “settle down” and so on.

Sometimes my running goals seem so trivial.  Why do they mean so much to me?

I’ve always been a passionate person, wanting my life to make an impact. Getting my MSW to pursue works of social justice.  Growing my faith. Wanting my passions to fuel my career.

I want to see people’s lives changed for the better through my work, service, acts of faith.  I want my family to push past our fears and do the things we value… things that make a difference.

After wrestling for a few months with one particularly challenging decision, it became clear Sunday night, post-marathon.  Both my husband and I felt at peace and ready to take a new, scary step.

And you know what I realized? My running has directly impacted my confidence in other areas of my life.

It has given me the courage to chase some big dreams.

(Thanks to Lindsay for sharing this graphic.)

Running is not directly creating world peace, or bringing harmony to relationships, or reconnecting us to God/nature/world.

However, setting a goal and seeing it come to fruition is empowering!

Running has taught me that I can take risks and things might turn out alright.  And that if everything flops, I can handle that, too.

When a race goes well, I feel strong and capable.

When they go poorly, I learn how to hang on and endure the challenge.  How to cope with discomfort and pain.

Trivial or not, I’m going to keep chasing those running goals.

What has running taught you? Are there areas in your life where you could dream a little bigger?


60 thoughts on “Why Running Dreams Matter

  1. You nailed this one! Running has empowered me to dream big, work hard and never settle. It’s not only about running. It’s life lessons. Best of luck to you my friend in whatever your new endeavors may be. I’m sure you will do well and be the strong, fierce woman that you are!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..I Jinxed MyselfMy Profile

  2. I love this concept. It is so true. I am a much stronger person thanks to running. It has instilled confidence and strength to draw on when I need it.

    I’m so glad your marathon was a success and so glad that you can draw on that for the moves you want to make in life!
    misszippy recently posted..The year of racing locallyMy Profile

  3. Oh I love this idea so much. And I’m excited for you too. I never thought of it that way, but it’s really very true. For me running is my time to also reflect and that usually means thinking about the things I love/enjoy. It’s when I start to get braver with my thoughts – thinking I can and will do that. And if I’m with hubby and we are talking through those things, that makes me even more excited. So I finally took the plunge and signed up for my ISSA PTC after one of our runs last week!
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted..Vegetable "Beef" Soup and Way to Go WednesdayMy Profile

  4. Awesome post! Running has taught me that I am stronger than I thought I was and that no dream is too big. It taught me not to just chase my dreams but to catch them and make them a reality.

    Best of luck to you and your family for whatever changes are upon you. They will be great, I have no doubt.
    Nicole@RunningWhileMommy recently posted..I’m A Guest Blogger TodayMy Profile

  5. For me personally, running has brought me closer to God/ nature and, has brought harmony to my relationships. Although my running is not creating world peace, I believe you must be the change you want to see and, running helps me be a better person, that energy expands outward. If I am a better person than the people around me are happier. As in your quote by Mother Teresa, ” Do small things with great love”. It is not trivial that you chase your running dreams, doing so teaches you many things about yourself, if you’re willing to listen, which I know you are. Learning these big life lessons can be helpful when big circumstances arrise. Plus, you are showing your daughter how not to give up and, that dreams take time and commitment. Have a good weekend Laura.
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..Boston Training and the Plump Orange BeanMy Profile

    • You know, I was thinking that too, after I wrote the line about what running does not do– it sometimes does have that very direct impact on me and those around me, and has connected me more to God/the world/my family. Thanks for your words of wisdom, Lisa. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, too!
      Laura recently posted..Why Running Dreams MatterMy Profile

  6. SO SO true! As Oprah said: Running is a metaphor for life. Running showed me that I was setting the bar too low for myself. I was doubting and underachieving and staying is a ‘safe’ (read failure-free) zone. Nothing ventured, nothing gained right? Happy weeeknd!
    Marcia recently posted..3 Things Thursday and a WinnerMy Profile

  7. I love this post Laura and it rings so true. Running dreams – all dreams – matter no matter how small they may seem. They build and stoke the fire inside us and make us feel alive and passionate. I’ve learned a ton about myself from running and sports in general have taken those lessons into every day life in more ways than I thought imaginable. I’ve learned a lot about mental strength and endurance and confidence too. I’m really excited for you and your family and the big things on the horizon!!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Friday Round-Up: Live.StrongMy Profile

  8. Running has taught me that if i’m tough enough to get up every day and pound some pavement or trails, i’m tough enough to accomplish anything else that day. I’m tough enough to take on pressures at work or in relationships. And I learned that I can rely on running to help me sort out those pressures and return home ready to accomplish what I thought about during my run. It’s so healing and I’m so grateful for it.

  9. Running has always (except when injured) been a big part of my life. You are so right – it does provide a sense of power. I think running helps keep things in perspective.
    This post was exactly what I needed to read. I really want to branch out and try some new things and this might be the perfect time to chase those dreams!
    Kim recently posted..New (Free!!!) Compression Shorts – Love ThemMy Profile

  10. You are so right that your passion will allow you to find the confidence and commitment to create the very best life. It will spill out into so many different areas. I am not a runner, but am passionate about helping others find their true path to health and well being. Losing weight or being healthy is not just about the physical elements of eating and exercise I find. Your psychological, spiritual, and emotional health need to be fostered as well. Sounds like you are doing just that.
    You may enjoy some free words of encouragement. Sign up at http://blisslifestyle.net/bliss-bites/
    I would be interested to hear what you think.

  11. You are absolutely right, running does help us in other areas of our lives. For me I started running when I was going through a horrible divorce at the age of 24, that was hard and humbling but running is what saved my life. It gave me confidence I never knew I had and I am a much better person for it now. Good luck in the new chapters in your life! 🙂
    Lauren @ The Unlikely Runners recently posted..The One About The Houston Half MarathonMy Profile

  12. It’s hard to explain to people the “whys” of running. This is a great post. I hope your next big step is something that works out for you.
    Clea recently posted..Jaspathon…My Profile

  13. Truth to this post. Running has brought out someone much more confident and less socially awkward than the “me” before. I’ve grown to be comfortable with who I am physically, emotionally and really appreciate the little things a lot more. Hard for non-runners/athletes to understand, so I’m glad there is a wonderful community of us to share it with! Sending good juju your way for the next big step for your family! 🙂
    beka @ rebecca roams recently posted..Weekly Workouts Roundup + Christmas is never overMy Profile

    • Yes, I know it doesn’t always make sense to my non-running friends, and that is okay. Like you said, it’s great to share it in this community! And thank you for the best wishes! I’ll share more when I can… 🙂
      Laura recently posted..Why Running Dreams MatterMy Profile

  14. OOh great post! I wholeheartedly agree; running has made me a more confident person who’s willing to take greater risks and take chances. I moved to the US at age 21, not knowing a soul here. To me it wasn’t a big deal, but to others, it was quite daring. What if it didn’t work out? They asked. I hadn’t even contemplated that! Keep chasing those dreams!
    Alison @ racingtales recently posted..Professional Athletes Aren’t Heroes. THIS is a #RealheroMy Profile

  15. Running, and triathlons, have done a lot for me! I wouldn’t be who I am today without it. It has brought me new friends, new passions, and a way to achieve goals. Running dreams are definitely important, if we don’t dream or have goals then we aren’t really living.

    Great post, Laura!
    Jamie @ couchtoironwoman recently posted..How to Stay Motivated in the WinterMy Profile

  16. This is exactly why I miss running!! I think the time and confidence it gave me really became a part of who I am. Being pregnant and not able to experience that right now is really proving more mentally challenging for me.

    Great post!!
    Katie recently posted..You Got ThisMy Profile

  17. I feel the same way with CrossFit and how it has impacted my life.I feel it has given me more confidence to achieve my non-fitness goals, too, such as starting a personal training and wellness coaching business. I think exercise is a very powerful thing, both mentally and physically. For me, working out helps to “clear the cutter” from my mind and focus on what is truly important.
    Melissa @ Fit ‘n’ Well Mommy recently posted..Friday FavoritesMy Profile

  18. I don’t think your running goals are trivial at all. I also think no matter what we do we are moms and that’s pretty important on its own. What a great example you are for your girl. 🙂 I definitely think exercise is empowering – I could stand to do a bit more. 😉
    Joann @ Woman in Real Life recently posted..Insta-Friday in real lifeMy Profile

  19. It’s so true, I’ve felt so empowered by accomplishing my running goals. Seeing what I am capable of makes me feel strong and capable of anything! It’s why I love to run, besides the great post-run feelings. The overall sense of accomplishment I get from running.
    Jen @ Jens Best Life recently posted..Yoga Flow for RunnersMy Profile

  20. Great post, Laura. I sometimes wonder, when I’m in the midst of a tough training plan like this, why I even bother – what’s the point? I’m not winning races, I’m not getting paid for this, and I’m really the only one it matters to. BUT – it does matter to me, and for that reason, it IS important, and it is worth it. Running has had such a huge impact on every aspect of my life, and has definitely taught me that if you really want something and you work hard, you can usually get it. And for those times when, despite putting in the work, you don’t achieve your goal, you’ll still take great satisfaction in knowing that you did your absolute best and that next time you’ll work even harder. So many valuable life lessons to take away from running – it’s too hard to list them all!
    Michelle recently posted..Re-EnergizedMy Profile

    • It’s so true, Michelle! I have those thoughts, too… and like you, keep coming back to those same answers… because it’s important to me, it does matter! Thinking of you in the ups and downs of the training cycle!

  21. I don’t run but I figure skate, which takes a lot of my time and effort and is not cheap. I’m finally going to get to adult Nationals this year, which will involve a lot of incidental expenses (new dress, plane flight, etc.) It does benefit me in so many ways, fitness, de-stressing, and giving me goals that I’m passionate about. Your post is a good reminder that all of those benefits are worthwhile, not only to me but to the other people in my life who benefit from a happier, healthier, more confident me.
    Mary @ Fit and Fed recently posted..Bronze Ice Dance Test | Hickory HoedownMy Profile

  22. I just love this post! Running really has made me realize that I can do most anything I want to do. 3 years ago, whenever I saw someone out running I would think “people are crazy!”. Now I get super jazzed thinking about running a marathon.
    Good luck on your new life steps!

  23. It has taught me that I’m so much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. I have also learned to listen to and trust my body. 🙂 great post.

  24. Running has taught me a lot (I just did a post about that too), and I know it enriches everything I do, including things are more important in a global way.
    Terzah recently posted..Wrapping Up!My Profile

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  26. There are SO MANY things in my life where I should chase them a little harder, and take the running philosophy into mind when I do them. Running is hard but it teaches you a lot about yourself. However, I am scared to learn about myself in some of the other aspects of life! But I am definitely much more apt to try now than I was two years ago!
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