Thinking Out Loud

One of the reasons I like running with my iPhone is because I can use the “notepad” for times when a recipe or post idea pops into my head.

If I don’t quickly type the idea down, by the time I arrive home I almost always lose the train of brilliant thought that occurred to me while out there running my path.


It’s always a positive thing for your self-esteem to assume your thoughts are brilliant.

There was a time in my life where just standing still in the heat and humidity would cause me to faint, let alone attempt to move around in the form of exercise.

Somehow though, I developed a thick skin for running. Not just during the summer months, but all year.

Keeping at it, never giving up, learning to pace myself and often pushing what I thought were limits created a runner in me that my high school gym teacher certainly would have argued never to be possible.

My body adapted and overcame my inability to exercise under strenuous conditions,  can now run multiple miles at a time and can get through speedy runs without collapsing.

I even learned to enjoy it in the process.

running path

As I trudged along my usual path the other morning in the bright sunshine which shouldn’t be so strong before 7:00 am but is anyway, I thought about the concept of developing our thick skin.

Do you think some people are born tough? Are some people naturally born with a thick skin or does it take time to develop? Can you have a thick skin in some aspects of life and not others?

I will never forget being told when my divorce process first began, “You just gotta be strong. And tough. You know, develop a thick skin.”

Easy for others to say, it wasn’t their life crumbling into pieces.

And I remember thinking – but I am not that tough and haven’t a clue how to genuinely turn myself into some reptile.

Being cold-blooded would really work in my favor now though for these hot summer runs.

A thick skin comes with experience. It develops over time when you go through something difficult and make it through to the other side.

Only after surviving something stressful, unpleasant and life altering can you build upon that experience and realize you are stronger than you ever thought possible.

And with those experiences, each time you are faced with a challenge, you can draw upon that strength in order to survive once again.

Sweaty humid difficult runs are never easy but knowing you have done it before allows you to continue to do it again.

Just adjusting your pace, going a little slower rather than stopping completely is often times enough to get through the run where you realize you did it, it wasn’t so bad and you can certainly do it again.

They say the heart is resilient but so is the rest of our body.

Each time we are put to the test, be it during a run or when we go through an emotional period, break up or divorce, the next time a similar situation arises , it may or may not hurt any less but you are much stronger and better equipped to deal with it because of what you have already experienced.

I think running is more than about fitness. It makes you get all philosophical and learn things about yourself that perhaps you never realized.

Running also builds a certain level of confidence, a toughness we never knew we were capable of which carries over into every other area of life.

In fact, running lately has helped me to develop an interesting new coping mechanism and since I am in a good mood this morning, I am going to tell you about it so maybe you can use it too.

When someone attempts to bring you down, break your heart, or, if the guy ahead of you on the line at Cold Stone Creamery orders the very last chocolate-dipped waffle bowl, instead of getting upset, remind yourself that at any given time or place, no matter the weather condition, you can totally outrun them and barely break a sweat in the process.

Just add this to the list of the benefits of speed work.

Be sure to check out what everyone else is thinking about today!


Do you often need to write ideas down while you are running?

Do you think running has made you tougher?

Would you say you have a thick skin?

Author: The Cookie ChRUNicles

Hi! I'm Meredith. Join me while I run and cook my way through single motherhood. It is always an adventure trying to teach my 12 year old son the benefits of an active lifestyle combined with healthy eating while of course, still leaving room for dessert.

27 thoughts on “Thinking Out Loud”

  1. Yes, running has made me tougher mentally and physically and yes, I have a tough skin. Love this “you can draw upon that strength in order to survive once again.”

  2. I wouldn’t say that I need to write down ideas while running, but I definitely get hit with brilliance when I’m in the shower… which sucks because there’s literally nowhere to write it down at that point — I need an Aqua Pad or something.

    But I do love what you said about developing a thick skin… I do think I have one, and it’s true when they say that you never know how strong you are until you have to be.

    1. Yes, that is the truth. You don’t know how strong you are until you have to be. That was me during my divorce and I witness it as my friend’s struggle through the same process now. We find our strength even though we have none and even though we don’t feel all that strong.

  3. I wouldn’t say that running has made me tougher, actually. If anything, I think that it has helped open me up and express my vulnerabilities. Before I ran (for pleasure rather than just for fitness) I was almost too tough, too impenetrable. And running has shown me that sometimes, no matter the work you put in, things aren’t perfect, but that’s ok. That sometimes, it just isn’t your day. And that’s ok.

  4. Best I’ve seen all week! Running is so mental, not much physical. I never knew I could ever achieve the level of fitness I have today, but it’s all through determination, commitment, and passion. I don’t ever regret a run, no matter how bad it is.

    And I feel you about running in hot weather! I am very sensitive to heat, come summer, I dont feel like exercising AT ALL.

    Amazing post. I’ll be subscribing!

  5. I do have a pretty thick skin in most situations. And, I have a thick skin in most running weather…except heat and humidity – for some reason I just crumple. I will run in a 5 degree blizzard just fine, but don’t let the temp get about 75 or I will freak out. hahaha. It’s probably something I could buildup like you said, but I just don’t want to! That’s also why I like to run early in the morning…no humidity in denver, so it’s nice and cool. 🙂

  6. Running has definitely made me tougher! Teaching me to push through things i usually wouldn’t. However, I don’t think we are born with thick skin, it’s something you develop. As a kid, I was pretty sensitive compared to now where I’ve learned to just “roll with it” Hope tomorrow you have a happy fourth of July! 🙂

  7. Running (and swimming, which will always be my first love, but two bum shoulders make it hard to swim on a regular basis) has definitely helped me toughen up. I don’t mind the heat so much, and I LOVE running in the sunshine. However, I have a hard time forcing myself to run when it’s below 40 degrees, so I’m definitely excited that this winter is over!
    I used to struggle to run a mile, which makes it hard to believe that I’m training for my first half-marathon! I always feel stronger and more confident after a run 🙂

    1. Isn’t it amazing how we can go from not being able to run more than a few minutes straight to having the ability to consider a half marathon? I don’t miss the dead of winter frigid runs but I can tolerate anything over twenty degrees. It is nice though not to need a bazillion layers right now!

    2. Isn’t it amazing how we can go from not being able to run more than a few minutes straight to having the ability to consider a half marathon? I don’t miss the dead of winter frigid runs but I can tolerate anything over twenty degrees. It is nice though not to need a bazillion layers right now!

  8. That is a great coping mechanism! It definitely made me smile to think of outrunning some of the people who have frustrated me lately.
    I believe I have pretty thick skin when it comes to running and life. And when you think about how you have been able to endure something challenging before, you know you can do it again.

  9. It’s truly amazing how the hard times in life do make us tougher and more-resilient; it’s almost like how our bodies build up immunity to disease. And while it sucks going through it, there’s something about being able to look back and say, ‘I got through that’ to encourage you when the next thing hits.

    1. Building up our immunity is a terrific analogy. I always knew my son would need to get colds and viruses over and over as a preschooler in order to build up his immunity. There was no way around that even though I knew some parents who tried to keep their kids in a bubble. Doesn’t work.

  10. Wish I had written down all of those brilliant thoughts, ideas, and plans I had and made during my long runs. Not much of that happening on the temp runs or track workouts . . .

    Not sure it’s help make me tough, to it certainly helps me get through.

    My skin thickness varies.

  11. I’m happy to know I’m not the only one who uses my I phone like this on runs. I once tried to write an entire blog post on it! And all run ideas are brilliant!

    Tough skin is something that develops over time I think. I’m still pretty weak but I’ve come a long way from where I started.

    Sometimes I’m tough and other times I’m puddle. Running is one thing for me that never gets easier it will forever make me a wuss.

  12. I love this blog post! I used to prize the thick skin, I was always trying to develop a thicker and thicker skin in my 20’s. Especially in Australia, “you have to be tough” is the attitude there. I thought I was fine, until one day I had an aha moment when I realized that my heart had hardened too much.

    Everything comes at the sacrifice of something else. Being tough comes at the sacrifice of opening your heart and having compassion. Opening your heart comes at the sacrifice of being tough, leaving you exposed to have your feelings being trampled on. Life is a balance. I am relieved that despite being through some hurtful times you’ve still come out as a pleasant person.

    1. Aw thanks. I am so glad you can relate to this post and understand my train of thought. You are correct, life is a balance and developing your thick skin is necessary yet you can’t be too hardened or that will backfire too.

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