How Running Changed My Life

TORONTO September 11th. Digital Champion Alyssa Cheung is a first time marathon runner and hopes her personal experiences — training progress, successes, failures and even setbacks — will inspire other runners to lace up and join her at the starting line of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon! Connect with Alyssa on Twitter @The_Real_Alyssa and on her blog.

How Running Changed My Life. By Alyssa Cheung.

I own more running shoes than all my other shoes combined.

For every pair of jeans I own I have 4 pairs of running shorts.

My running watch is the most expensive piece of jewellery I own.

I get excited about new flavours of energy chews.

My laundry consists of 98% workout gear at all times.

I’m nearing 9 months since the start of my running “career” and 6 weeks until I line up at the starting line of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I never imagined running would be this life changing. Running has shaped me into the person I am today not only physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Here are a few things I discovered through running.

1) The Domino Effect: When I began running, it was simply a way to get back in shape. Once I began, I couldn’t stop and continued to chase further and further distances. I started out running 2km at a time and can’t believe that in less than 6 weeks I will run 42.2km. Running has made me want to make healthy choices in all areas of my life and I am now eating better, sleeping more, and focusing on my physical and mental well-being.

2) The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: At the start of my running careers, I definitely experienced more bad runs than good. Even ugly ones! As I learned more about running, strengthening muscle imbalances, and mastering recovery, the bad and ugly runs became few and far between. Knowing had bad and ugly runs feel, I have really come to appreciate the good ones. I really cherish those long runs where I finish feeling like I could run forever.

3) Eyes On Your Own Paper: Don’t look at what everyone else is doing, just worry about yourself. I used to try to match the pace of other runners in my training group, until I realized there is no way. Maybe one day I will be a strong enough runner to keep up, but I have come to learn that the only person I am racing against is myself.

aly4) It’s Not About The Destination, But The Journey…And Bragging Rights: Running a race isn’t just about completing a new distance, going to the expo, collecting a medal, and eating free bananas. It’s about the people and relationships that are built along the way. Your self realization of how strong and capable you truly are what make the journey memorable.

5) Listen To The Advice Of Others: Being a relatively young runner, I have had my fair share of people trying to give me advice. I’ve heard it all from injury prevention, proper form, rehab, and the list goes on. It wasn’t until someone told me how he wished he had some of this advice at my age, that I started to listen. It was a hard pill to swallow at first, but he is right. If I am ahead of the game, I may as well stay ahead and take some advice from more seasoned runners!

6) Smile! Don’t forget to smile, it simply makes things better. Even on my most painful runs, you’ll probably come across me smiling. During a high intensity spin class where everyone looks exhausted, I will have a smile on my face. The tougher the workout, and the more uncomfortable it makes me feel, the bigger the smile!

I may never win a race or ever qualify for the Boston Marathon, but that’s OK. I know that I am capable of way more than I ever thought possible and that feeling makes everything worth it.


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3 Responses to How Running Changed My Life

  1. Myron says:

    Great post, Alyssa! It’s true, there’s lots of advice out there, and the trick to sift through it and keep the GOOD advice!! (there’s some free advice for you).

  2. Kristi says:

    Hey, I just bought those shoes!!! Don’t you love them? I broke them in on a 32k run last weekend and they felt as if I had been wearing them for weeks.

    Great advice! The Waterfront Race will be my first marathon too. I’m a lot older than you though…wish I had started at your age but so happy I finally found running.

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