How St. Patrick Can Inspire you to be a Better Runner


This post was inspired by a book I read daily, called 365 Saints by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker. Although, the author’s message about St. Patrick couldn’t be more different than mine, I thought it was important to note, what got me thinking about this.

St. Patrick’s Day for many of us, including myself, has had multiple meanings through the years. When I was little girl, it was all about leprechauns, wearing green so you didn’t get pinched, and making crafts. In my twenties, it was about going out to bars, drinking green beer–basically an excuse for me to go out, have fun and, well, get drunk.


In my thirties I was busy raising very small children, just starting to run again, and St. Patrick’s Day became one of my favorite holidays to dress up in a kilt and run a race. My forties have become a time of inner reflexion and exploring, and how I can grow as a human being. I love to teach my children the true meaning behind all of our holidays — most of which center around Christian faith. St. Patrick’s Day is no different.


If you don’t know the story of St. Patrick, let me tell you my understanding of his life. St. Patrick was born in somewhere in Britain in 380 AD and raised by Christian parents. Sadly, he was kidnapped, brought to Ireland, and forced into slavery. He never lost his faith, and six years later he escaped. He arrived back in Britain and lived a quiet life centered around his deep faith. He went to France to study religion and in the year 432, he became a priest and then a bishop. As a bishop he returned to Ireland on a mission to convert the Druids to Christianity. A task that was overwhelmingly challenging and most likely tested his faith many times. He died on March 17, 461 AD.


As you go out on your run today, think of how St. Patrick (a real person, just like you and me) set out on his journey to Ireland. How he faced brutal objection trying to convert the Druids, and how he must have felt like giving up on several occasions. Imagine for a moment how difficult the task of changing someones deep seeded beliefs would have been.

Have you ever felt like giving up on a run? Or giving up running all together? You set out with the best of intentions and then after a few miles, you begin to struggle, and doubt yourself? How many times have you asked yourself, “why am I doing this?” I am confident St. Patrick must have asked himself the same thing. He’s a tangible symbol of perseverance and faith in the unknown.

Today channel the energy and spirit of St. Patrick — ask him for the guidance, and faith to get through those tough moments on your run, or in your training cycle. It wasn’t easy for St. Patrick. He was kidnapped, put into slavery and had to escape, but he never lost his faith, and, in fact, he came out of his experience with an even stronger belief in himself. He returned to the place that probably held a lot of horrible memories, and made it his mission to teach people the meaning of unwavering faith. When one method didn’t work, he kept trying and attempted a new way. The same could be true about our running– are you stuck in a rut? Instead of giving up, try something different.

Although we may never have to attempt something as difficult as what St. Patrick faced, we do have challenges in our life. Instead of just celebrating another year of going out to the pub and drinking green beer, I ask you to take a moment and use the spirit of St. Patrick to help renew your faith in yourself, in your running, in your training cycle, or whatever challenges you face right now in your life.


What challenges do you face right now in your running, or in your life?

Have you ever felt like giving up on a dream?

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  1. says

    I never knew this story! And I love it! Such faith! We all need that! Thank you friend! I will be starting the week with a fresh faith perspective

  2. says

    I apparently never knew anything about St. Patrick. But, I am so glad you shared this message. I love hearing about the stories behind holiday’s, sayings, symbols, etc. This was no different. And having just asked myself many of these questions yesterday on my run, I could definitely use an example of perseverance. This post will have me thinking and examining my running, for sure. I am already doing it. But, I need more thoughts and examples of not giving up, but having hope that putting in the hard work will pay off.

    • Lisa says

      Hang on Vieve, just hang on–keep moving forward one step at a time, you’ll get there. I’ll be here for your big day–I can’t wait.

  3. says

    You best believe I will be running faster than a GAZELLE TOMORROW! Thanks St. Patrick!! Now St. Pat, can I call you that? How do you feel about all the JUNK FOOD and BOOZE being served up on your day!?

    • Lisa says

      Haha! GiGi remind me never to take you to a funeral, you would have me belly laughing in the pews. Gazelle your way up here to Ventura County lady-we’d have some serious fun!

  4. says

    Since I share a birthday with good ol’ St. Pat and I’m a former catholic school girl, I’ve heard this story many a times! I love how you applied it to running. I never put the two together! And I agree with Gigi – St. Pat would have a major heart attack if he knew how people celebrated his day! 😉

    • Lisa says

      Happy happy Birthday beautiful girl! I had a feeling we were kindred Catholic girls! The first clue was our twins, second we’re sassy, and third we like to have little fun every now and then.

    • Lisa says

      My heart goes out to you. I know it’s not easy, sometimes we do need to reevaluate our dreams. Sometimes the timing is off, or we’re being lead in a different direction– just like St. Patrick, often we have to try something new or change things up. Praying for you beautiful girl! xoxo

  5. says

    Very interesting stuff about St. Patrick–I’ve never come across any of that! (maybe b/c it is overshadowed by the beer part of it!). Anyhow, love the analogy to sport. Sooo many times in a bad race I’ve wanted to give up. Next time I’ll think of St. Patrick!

  6. says

    I didn’t know this story either but, um, yes. That’s pretty much exactly how I felt this weekend when I ran my half. Started off with the best intentions and felt great but man was it a struggle at times but I pulled it together to finish. Thank you for this and putting this all in perspective. xoxo

  7. says

    Lovely, lovely woman. Thanks for sharing this cool story!!! Hmm right now I am facing well…being a freelancer! It’s rough putting it out there every week and not hearing boo back from publishers, but when I do, well it’s dance party time up in here!

  8. says

    I am fairly certain I tuned out the hours of religious education during my years of Catholic schooling, and I am not sure I knew any of that. Please don’t tell the nuns.

    I love your analogy, and how you applied it. Winter aside, running is going well (knock on pavement). But I found it almost too close to a personal situation, and it was just what my heart needed today. Thank you.

    • Lisa says

      Funny, I tuned it out as well when I was kid… or maybe not, as it pops back into my head as an adult. No, really I did tune it out, but am very interested in how it can help me through my day to day life now as an adult. I am sorry to hear that you have a difficult personal situation going on right now. I am sending good vibes and prayers. xoxoxoxo

  9. says

    As always I love your posts!! My mom was the same way, always reminding us of the real meaning behind all of our holidays, so we don’t lose sight of our faith. What a great comparison to running!! i have definitely been struggling with so much, running included. This has helped to inspire me. I loved reading about the story of St. Patrick again. I love celebrating the holiday’s actually knowing why we celebrate it.

  10. says

    I never knew the history behind this day and quite frankly I never got into the bar aspect of it. What an inspiring man St. Patrick was. Thanks for sharing this!

  11. says

    Very interesting timing for your question Lisa. First, tons & tons of money issues for sure so have been job searching. And honestly, I am about ready to pull the dream thing – too many years trying & I need to pay bills. :)

    • Lisa says

      I’m so sorry to hear about money issues-I understand, I’ve been through some horrible times as well, and still live extremely tight… my heart goes out to you.–I totally get how stressful that issue is. Sending you so much love and many prayers that you get through this soon. xoxo

  12. says

    I had no idea what the story behind St Patrick’s Day is. We don’t celebrate this day in Germany. Thanks for sharing and I love the relation to running or life in general.