This month, while running my first half marathon, I was reminded of some valuable life lessons that I wanted to share. Whether competing on the competition stage, running a race, or embarking upon a fitness journey, there are so many life lessons we learn. These lessons carry over into all aspects of our lives and make us stronger, wiser and more capable to take on challenges. I hope you can take even one of these lessons and incorporate it into your daily life!

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. If things are working for you, keep doing what you are doing. People often feel the need to continually change things up, but it’s not always necessary if things are working. Before a contest, whether that be running or stepping onstage, there is no need to do anything drastic. If you feel great leading up to your event, keep everything just as is.

Just before my race, I bought new Nike running shoes. Rather than attempt to wear new shoes, I decided to wear the shoes I had been training in, holes and all. I know they worked and were comfortable so why take the chance of changing things up?! If the shoe fits, wear it! Don’t feel the need to continually change things up just because.

Breathe deeply. No matter where you are in your journey, the power of the breath is unbelievable. A deep inhale and exhale can get you from mile nine to mile ten or through that extra rep. People often undervalue the importance of deep breathing. A few breaths could be all you need to take yourself to the next level.

Take a few moments every day to breathe deeply. During every step of my race, I focused on my breath and it gave me the strength and stamina I needed to finish my race strong! So whenever in doubt, just breathe!

Things are much easier when done together. Taking on any challenge can be scary and intimidating. If you have a great support system, things seem doable. Support is infectious and can make or break you. They say it takes a village, and this is so true.

Running my race and seeing the people running the same path I was on gave me the fire and motivation to keep going and not stop. Knowing I was not alone was a huge reason why I felt confident that I could do it! When you have the support and motivation from people around you, “impossible” things suddenly seem possible!

One step at a time— just keep moving. No matter where you are in your journey or how far you have to go, if you take it one step at a time and just keep moving, you WILL get there. There will be times you’ll want to quit, but as long as you just keep moving, you will get there and the reward will be so worth it.

Throughout my race, I kept telling myself, “It doesn’t matter how slow I go, I just have to go…” These words became very powerful and helped me dig a little bit deeper. It became more about just finishing the race rather than an expectation. If you give yourself the freedom to just do as you can rather than live up to an expectation, things seem much more reasonable.

No matter how far you have come or how far you have to go, keep telling yourself that if you just keep moving and take it one step at a time, you WILL get there!

If you focus too much on the finish line, you miss the view along the way. People want results now, not tomorrow or next week— but now! But if you are so focused on when you will get there, you can miss the lessons and beauty in the journey it took to get to your goal. My race took me across the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge and throughout the amazing city of San Francisco. If I was soley focused on the finish line, I could have missed out on the beauty of the run.

No matter where you are in your journey or what goal you are striving for, remember to take a look around and take it all in, because it is the scenery that makes your journey that much more enjoyable!