Advice for the Noncompetitive Runner

Chicago has 26 miles of lakefront – 19 of those miles are also bike and running paths. This is paradise for athletes and those pursuing a healthy lifestyle in general. When I moved up to Chicago I fell in love; thanks to the lakefront trail. Ever since college I’ve been running, not because I love the competition of running, but because it helps me unwind and destress. Many times we only associate running as a fast-paced competitive sport or a weight loss tool; is it odd I’m telling us it doesn’t have to be?


Sometimes we runners run not just to be in shape physically, but to be in shape mentally.


I completed a half marathon last year (details to come), but not to compete with anyone but myself and to reach my own mental goal: finishing. Running and even the training put me at ease as I needed a distraction in my life at the time – it worked out great and I accomplished something I never thought was possible. 13.1 miles is a lot for most people, but it’s doable. I run to put my soul at ease, and my advice to be sure you keep up with this mental soul food, if you have a hard time getting motivated, is going to sound cheesy.

Find your happy place.

It’s true. Every time I’m running down the trail to the city skyline an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness and amazement hits me like a brick wall. It doesn’t matter if it’s 20 degrees or 80 degrees, I always find myself running here. The view reminds me how lucky I am to be, live, and play in this beautiful city. Not just because it’s scenic, but because living in Chicago was a life goal I have always had since I was two, and here I am. Sometimes we forget how thankful we really should be, and running here – at my happy place – makes me remember.


Even before I moved to Chicago I found my go-to spot, which ironically still involved running by a lake. Not always will skyline views be an option, but find somewhere beautiful, somewhere you love, and try running there. You will be surprised how it motivates you to achieve your goals and be thankful for where you are.

Sometimes we need a refresher to do things because we love them and because we love the journey not just the results.