Friday, January 6, 2012

20 Running Instructions

While I don’t know him personally or in the Biblical sense, the Dalai Lama seems like a pretty smart, insightful and compassionate guy. Recently, I read his “20 Instructions for Life.” If I could only be 1/24th as enlightened as Mr. Lama or Ms. Theresa (“Mother” being her first name), I’d have it made in the shade. Here are the 20 Instructions. While they apply to life in general, I’d argue they’re really about running, specifically. So, naturally I’ve added my two cents.

Dang! He even looks so nice and happy

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.  Risk running your first race. Risk getting tired and hitting the wall. Risk having people pass you. Risk making a fool of yourself. Risk sacrificing to train hard. Risk crapping your pants. Gain: great achievement and love for yourself. I promise.

2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson. Train like a mother and get injured? Fail to make your PR? Run the Las Vegas marathon and puke your guts out? There is always something to be learned from the most difficult of circumstances. Sure you want to punch someone in the face when they tell you that, but like it or not, it’s true. If and only if  you are willing to see the lesson.

3. Follow the three R’s:
-  Respect for self (never pee or tie your shoe in the middle of the course)
-  Respect for others (never pee or tie your shoe in the middle of the course) and,
-  Responsibility for all your actions (never pee or tie your shoe in the middle of the course).

4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. This is another one that is so true it is annoying. It falls into the, “when one door closes, some bitch opens a window,” or something like that. The bottom line is, we hold on so tight to what we NEED our goals and achievements and agendas to be. Often when we don’t get what we want, we are pushed in a different direction that is exactly what we needed instead.

5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly. This is my favorite, and almost seems un-Dalai-Lama-like. Clearly he is telling us to learn the rules for registering for a race, but then to have complete disregard and run as a bandit.

6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship. Make it clear from the get-go that your training comes before everything else. If your partner/spouse disputes that, tell them that they need to get on board so that this dispute does not ruin your relationship.

7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. If you are running a race and spit on someone or fart on them as you pass (crop dusting), immediately apologize and keep moving. Do not let your guilt slow you down.

8. Spend some time alone every day. Running alone and listening to your breath and your feet hitting the ground is one of the great human experiences. At least to runners. Other people just think it’s crap.

9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values. This simply means when you cross the finish line of a race, hug someone named “change,” but never give up your virginity right there (what?).

10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. Do not carry keys or change in your pocket when you run with a group. They will hate you.

11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time. Work your ass off. Make no excuses. You’ll set a good example for others. And, if the day ever comes when you can’t move anymore, you’ll be glad you did.

12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life. Always kiss your spouse or partner on your way out the door for your four hour training run. Always thank them for doing the dishes and feeding the kids while you are gone. Don’t forget to give them a special sexual favor after they have waited around all day for you to run by them for one second during your marathon. This is very loving and grateful of you.

13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past. If you are arguing about how your partner did not rub your feet after your race, don’t bring up all the past times he/she has failed you after races. It’s just not fair.

14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality. You should always do this at the gym. Go up to someone on a treadmill and tell them that they need to work on their running form. Go into great instruction about heel vs. forefoot striking and keeping good posture. They will love it and you will live forever!

15. Be gentle with the earth. This is exactly why you should always shit in cornfields when you run. Fertilization of the precious earth!

16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before. Great Wall of China Marathon, here you come! Who cares if it’s 2,459,659 vertical steps?

17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other. This is too deep for me. I got nothin’.

18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it. You gave up sleep, a normal G.I. tract, socializing, sex, drinking, parenting, walking the dog, lots of money and all you got was a stinking marathon medal. Total and complete SUCCESS!!

19. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. When you pass someone in a race, always tell them “good job” or “nice pace.” People love to hear that as their ass is being handed to them.

20. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. Wait, didn’t we just go over this? Oh, I get it. Subtle difference. Same response. When you pass someone in a race, always tell them “good job” or “nice pace.” People love to hear that as their ass is being handed to them.

Honestly, I really dig this man and have long been a fan (rhyme). His truths always bring your heart back to the right place.

What’s your favorite Instruction from above?



  1. I'm a fan of the fertilizing corn fields myself.

  2. 13 is tricky...because 'those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.' I like the Dalai Lama. Lots of good stuff.

  3. #10 is hilarious......your take that is. Awesome.

  4. Follow the three R’s...I like this one because I have always been about respect...wish I got what I give in the world but I am trying to work on not stressing about that...

  5. You explanation of number 9 has got to be my favorite. Thanks for the enlightenment!

  6. That about sums it up! I especially agree with#10 and will add no bells or clanging bracelets to that:). About #7 I usually just look disgusted at the dude running closest to me and leave it at that!

  7. #10 - When running with an iPod and headphones, refrain from singing out don't sound nearly as good to the folks running beside you as you *think* you do within your private auditorium.

    They'll love you for it. And won't trip you.

  8. #12 is my husband's favorite!

  9. Alone time! So important! I wrote something in regards to that yesterday. I need my time to reflect.

  10. # 15 for sure - it's all about fertilizing mother earth!

  11. Hhhaaa. All i can think of right now is "crop dusting". hhaaaaa!

  12. 8. I have gotten really little alone time lately, except for my running. I am thankful that I have that at least. I need my kids to learn to enjoy being alone (in their rooms, of course), and enjoying it, not as punishment, as they are right now (otherwise I would not be able to read this!)

  13. Oh my gosh this is great! So funny!

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  15. #2, #16, #19, #20....yeah these are all pretty awesome but these really stuck out for me!

  16. How do I choose my favorite when they're all so damn good?

    #13 is actually news to me-- thank you very much, Dalai Lama for the relationship advice because god knows I always need it.

    13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.

    That is so good!

    I also love the one about being gentle with the earth and the one about embracing change but holding onto your values. All SO SO good.

    Thanks for sharing and adding your input. :) Who knew SUAR would one day collaborate with the Dalai Lama? I didn't see that one coming!

  17. #19 and #20 because I'm the one usually getting passed......:)

  18. Love this list, especially #1 and #4!

  19. Favorite. Post. Ever. Nicely done! Gotta agree with all but #12 is my fave :)

  20. "Risk crapping your pants..." which I risk on EVERY run and #15 (same topic!).


    yors were much bettter. :)


    I liked yours MUCH better! :)

  23. Love the subtleness of the last 2, thanks for sharing the list.

  24. My favorite is compassion = happy. It's true. I know. I get passed A LOT.

  25. Love the crop dusting comment...priceless insight from you once again !

    I personally really like #18...judging our success by what we had to give up to get something. true and helpful to us going forward if we think about it.

  26. 12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

    Very true!

  27. Holy you make me laugh every day!! I just adore your sense of humor (sure, call it "insight"). I want to send you the races I'm planning on doing this year (or trying to do) and compare it to yours so we can meet in real life and not just blogging world... Also, I'm buying a T-shirt in the next few days....

  28. I got #17 for you. And you did it beautifully in 2011.
    17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

    You and your running relationship. You love it so much but sometimes, you need to give it up for a little while, even though you don't want to. Just because you needed to give it time to rest, to heal, so you can come back strong and love it even more, even better, even bigger!
    See you love it, but you can give it up. :)

    I will never look at crop dusters the same anymore.

  29. This was a great post! It's tough picking one fave, but since I got out of my chair, laughing, to tell the hubby about "crop dusting", guess that's the winner.

  30. New reader and a great post to start on. As a new runner I must admit I was guilty of the jangling keys on my second ever group run (the first group run I locked my keys in the car!) - after about 4 steps I realised how annoying those keys were going to be for the next hour. I now wear the car key on a loop around my neck - but I'm curious - what do other people do?

  31. Loved this! All are great, but #4 is my favorite as it seems to be the story of my life (at least in relationships). #9 and #10 cracked me up!

  32. #18 speaks volumes to me- I sacrifice sleeping in, eating meat, money on expensive races, and partying all to get a shiny medal and tech tee. Yeah, I've got my priorities straight.

  33. Beth,
    I LOVE this post! Can I use it in the March-April issue of This Mother Can Run Magazine? Let me know your thoughts at

  34. LOVE these! Fairly new runner, myself...and a brand new follower of your blog. Looking forward to reading more!

  35. Love # 12 (as runner or as dishwasher)!

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