The key to starting any new habit is to repeat it consistently for a period of time. I am quite certain we all know this. But knowing something and making it a reality are often two completely different things.  And while we struggle to make this a reality, often we have to realize that merely showing up is sometimes a huge victory.

One of the things I love about running is that what is true in running is also true in many other areas of our life. What we learn in and from running, we can take to other more important parts of our life and use them for good.

Showing up is one of those principles.

Is Showing Up Really Enough?

In your marriage, is it really enough to merely show up? In school, is it really enough to “show up” to class? And in running, is it really enough to just “show up” but not really be able to do your best?

Yes and no.

We all have limited time and we have limited energy. With that said, if we are going to do something, we ought to weigh the trade-offs accurately and choose wisely so that we can do the most important things well. If we are going to do something, it is a waste of our time and energy to not try to do our very best. Remember this does not mean you are the best, it means that you did your best.

However let us not put the egg before the chicken.   In order to do our best, we have to show up first. And, if we are honest, sometimes merely “showing up” is the best we can do. “Merely showing up” is often a struggle unto itself.

Again, if we use marriage as an example, staying and showing up day after day when things are not going well, can be a huge struggle. Going to a job you hate day after day is hard. Showing up to a class that you cannot stand is hard.

Does struggling to show up mean you should quit or get a divorce or find something better? Of course, sometimes it does, but sometimes it means something much deeper, something we must fight against, our resistance to the uncomfortable.

Just because something isn’t fun, or makes us uncomfortable or causes us to struggle, doesn’t mean we should quit. In most cases, it means we need to learn how to show up and persevere. It means we need to fight against our tendency to want the easy road or perhaps our own laziness.

How Often Do I Need to Show Up?

Do I need to run every day? 5 days a week? 3?

This is a personal question that you need to answer based on two main things, your body (energy) and your life balance (time).

Your body is a certain age and is in a certain condition.   If you are just starting to run and are carrying a few extra pounds, it might actually be to your detriment to run 5 days a week. You could get injured or even sick due to over training. However, if you run 3 days a week for a year, you will be a year older, but your body will likely be in better condition and 5 days a week could be just fine.

Your life balance might be completely out of whack. If you are working 50 hours a week and have 3 kids, you probably cannot show up 5 days a week without sacrificing other really important things like rest or family time.

Write down 3-5 doable times that you can show up this week and do it.  Do it even though it may be your “off” season and you really don’t want to.  Show up even if it makes you uncomfortable and nervous. Do it even if all you can make yourself do is walk.

Showing up when it is a struggle will not only make you a better runner, but help you persevere in other areas of life as well. Because ultimately, while running is important, it is just one piece of this puzzle we call life.