Running and Resilience

 Psychological resilience is an individual’s tendency to cope with stress and adversity.This coping may result in the individual “bouncing back” to a previous state of normal functioning, or simply not showing negative effects. A third, more controversial form of resilience is sometimes referred to as ‘posttraumatic growth’ or ‘steeling effects’ where in the experience adversity leads to better functioning.  Resilience is most commonly understood as a process, and not a trait of an individual. (Wikipedia source)

The longer you’re a runner, the more you realize that all those running cliches like “running is my drug” and “running is cheaper than therapy” are actually true. Last week I had a particularly rough time, both emotionally and physically. My anxiety was at an all-time high and the physical symptoms were becoming hard to ignore. It would have been very easy for me to cancel running for the week and sleep in everyday, but I didn’t. My Seawheeze half-marathon training continued as planned and I even got a 13km long-run in on Saturday. That run felt like a *huge victory* to me because I started out not quite sure whether I could finish it or not.

I realized something very important last week: running has made me a more resilient person. Running has given me a deep sense of purpose and direction, even in times when I feel lost. Last week I stumbled across this very poignant blog post, Defiance (Road to the Toronto Waterfront Marathon) by Ravi M. Singh. In the post, Ravi speaks about running as an act of defiance against his struggle with depression. This is my favourite quote from his blog:

“It is my own small act of defiance against my personal demons and struggles. It tells me that I am stronger than that which afflicts me and though my mind might get in the habit of telling me that I’m weak, I know that this cannot be true if I have charted 15 km up and down the hills of my neighbourhood, moreso when I’ve done it before most have gotten out of bed.”


No  matter what challenges you face in a day or what roadblocks people may put in your way, no one can take away the sense of accomplishment, resilience, and defiance that come from a great run! Life, I have realized, is a series of small victories. Most days won’t include an extraordinary event like winning the lottery, having a baby, or buying a new pair of running shoes 😉 But all days can include small victories, if you choose to see them.

Every time you lace up your shoes, you are not only pounding the pavement, and putting in the miles, but you are taking a stand against anxiety, defying depression, refusing to live in an unhealthy body, or winning against that voice inside your head that says “you can’t do this.” Every day can be a victory if you choose to accept your mission.


7 thoughts on “Running and Resilience

  1. Thanks so much for quoting my piece. I’m really glad you found some value and inspiration from it. I’ve also been inspired by how seriously you take your running. I’ll be sure to keep up with you as I keep pushing myself to October and beyond 🙂

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