For those of you who didn’t know, I’m a 4th degree black belt and martial arts instructor in addition to my marketing job. In the 10 years I’ve been teaching/assisting classes, I’ve learned some incredible things from my students. And some of them even apply to running.
1. Be fearless.
I’ve watched as my students ran as fast as they could toward a stack of pads half their height with the goal of jumping over them and landing upright. Sometimes they make it. Sometimes they knock over the pads and go flying across the mat. But they get up and keep trying every time.
That fearlessness to try something that you might, and probably will, fail at is something any adult can learn from. Each time you try something new, whether that means a new training plan or new distance, you could fail at it. But you have to have the confidence that you will succeed, and if you fail, get right back up and keep trying.
2. Set hard goals for yourself.
I love asking my 6-9 year-old students their martial arts goals. A few want to be the Grand Master when they grow up, some want to be black belts, some want to be instructors, and some want to be the very next rank.
They don’t care about what life is going to throw at them or what obstacles they’ll face. How many times have you held back from setting a goal because it didn’t seem practical? Not 2 months ago I said I would never be able to run a marathon. Now I am. You can’t be afraid to set a goal because of what could happen.
3. Ask questions.
Something I’ve learned over the years is that asking questions can sometimes seem annoying, or make you insecure, but if you think something feels wrong or don’t completely understand, it’s better to ask the question. This is so important, especially when you’re starting out with something new. If you have friends that run and want advice on shoes or fueling or where to run, just ask. Most people are happy to help you, and you will then be able to pass along that information to someone else.
It’s crazy to think that children sometimes provide inspiration without even knowing they do. Who has been your greatest teacher and what was the most important thing you learned from them?