Running and Compassion

Yesterday I went out for a short run to get my running legs back I got to explore my new neighborhood a little bit. When I got back I was feeling unusually ambitious in the yard work department and I ended up doing some weeding and mowing the lawn. I also fixed a towel rack in the bathroom. Did I put very much away in my room? Not really. Did I get my bed set up? Yes I did. So I think overall it was a pretty successful day.

At my work we sometimes get people who get very upset. Most of the time I really am not sure why they’re getting upset to the point that they do. Yesterday I had a man tell me to F off and hung up on me as I was explaining to him how the Health Coaching works. I was able to laugh it off but sometimes it still hurts and not taking those things personally is something I am still working on. Last week, one of our health coaches sent around this Ted Talk discussing compassion. If you have a little bit of time, I highly recommend it.

While this video is more about not making snap judgements and treating everyone with the same level of compassion in medicine, it can of course apply to so many areas of life. Yes, I am assuming that the man yesterday on the phone is just a jerk. Because seriously who thinks it’s ok to talk to another human being like that? But I don’t really know him. Maybe he has a stressful situation going on in his life right now and another commitment is more than he can handle. Or maybe it was just a lack of understanding or a miscommunication somewhere down the line. I’m not excusing his behavior. But my point is you  never know why something is the way that it is.

I know I’ve discussed this topic before, but my job really does make me think about these things quite a bit. Even when I talk to people who are perfectly pleasant, I hear about terrible life situations. Divorces, custody battles, family members who are dying, less than ideal living situations, depression, difficult work situations and a million other stressors that many of us may not have ever dealt with. I can’t see these people in person as I’m talking to them on the phone from all over the country but I can see their biometrics and most of them are very unhealthy. Maybe if someone saw on them on the street, they would make a quick judgement like the doctor in the Ted Talk. Why don’t they exercise? Are they eating right? When really there are so many factors that contribute and maybe they’re dealing with something in their lives that we can’t even imagine in our worst nightmares.


I love how in the running community, we celebrate one another’s successes without reservation. It doesn’t matter if I’m a faster runner than you or if you could pass me without even having to blink. We all recognize how much work this way of life of ours takes. We all put in the hours, the miles, the dedication and we encourage one another to keep going. Running helps you to develop this empathy, this compassion for others and we can carry this into every part of our life.

The more I run, the more I realize that running makes me a better person. If we allow it, running can make us into the best version of ourselves. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone loved to run. Wow.

Have you ever encountered a situation like the doctor in the video?

How has running made you a better person?


7 thoughts on “Running and Compassion

  1. “The more I run, the more I realize that running makes me a better person. If we allow it, running can make us into the best version of ourselves. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone loved to run.” This is exactly how I feel about running. This was such a great post, Alyssa! If you want to see the best me, let me have a run in the morning and set myself off on the right foot. Running makes me happy and makes me value my life. I think that I bring the best version of me after a run and this post totally hits home.

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