5 Leadership Lessons From Running

According to Country Living, today is Global Running Day. The purpose of Global Running Day is to encourage people to get out and run.

I know, I know, most of you are groaning and dreading the thought of running. However, I have found running has multiple benefits.

Especially for leaders.

That’s why I want to share with you 5 leadership lessons from running. Being a runner, I’ve put in the miles. I’ve run multiple half marathons, a few 25k runs, and one, yes one, full marathon.

During my runs, I am able to focus and think about the world around me. Today, we’re going to look at what I’ve learned while running and pounding the pavement.

5 Leadership Lessons From Running

1. Consistency is key:

To become a better runner, you have to be consistent. You cannot run one day, choose not to run for 4 days, run another day, skip 6 more days, and think you’re going to improve. You’re not. Your body will hate you. Your performance will decrease.

However, if you create a running schedule, stick to it to the best of your ability, and run regularly, you will see gains.

The same is true for your leadership. Consistency is key.

Show up. Do the work. Keep building on what has come before.

Great leaders are consistent.

2. Fuel yourself:

I’m horrible at fueling myself while on runs. I have become better at this aspect of running but it is still something I work on.

In running, you have to fuel yourself through your water intake and through calorie consumption. Your body is using the water and food you’ve consumed. It needs to be replenished.

I’ve hit the dreaded runner’s wall many times. Mostly because of this inattention to fueling.

Leaders hit a similar wall we’ll call the leader’s wall. This happens when a leader stops fueling themselves.

Fueling for a leader looks like:

  • Consuming content that you’re learning from
  • Surrounding yourself with people who challenge you
  • Doing something you love

Make sure you’re fueling yourself or you’ll hit the wall.

3. It’s better with someone else:

Running can be a solitary sport. It’s one where you don’t have to have a partner but having a partner with you is so much better.

I love my Team World Vision group runs. I get to spend time with people, talking to them, growing closer to them. This community is important.

The community a leader surrounds himself or herself with is important too.

Find someone to lead with. They may not be a leader but they can be someone you partner with.

This partner could be a cheerleader, someone who holds you accountable, or someone you discuss the difficult times with.

Lead with others!

4. Challenge yourself:

You can get complacent when running. You reach a pace that you’re comfortable with. And you stick with it. Or you may run the same route again and again and again.

The challenge goes away.

Removing the challenging aspects of running hurts you in the long run. You don’t see performance gains because you’re stuck in a rut.

Leaders get stuck in a rut, too. They find themselves sliding into a cozy routine. One they really enjoy. One day they realize they’ve been stuck.

Find ways to challenge yourself as a leader. Take new college-level courses. Get your hands dirty working with your team members. Start a prayer ritual or meditation practice.

The more you challenge yourself, the more you will grow.

5. Renew yourself:

Early on, I talked about the need for consistency. You do have to make sure you’re running on a regular basis to improve. You also have to take time to renew yourself.

This means taking a rest day ever so often. For me, I rest 2-3 times a week during my training schedule. This is to allow my body to heal.

Listen to me! 

You have to find time for rest. If you don’t, you will burn out. You will fizzle out. You will be no good to those you lead.

Time the time to go on a vacation. Find time to relax for 5-10 minutes. Do something that recharges your mind and body.

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