it gives me time, helps me focus, and generally is a good way of getting outside. I’ve been running for the past 7 years almost — last several years doing it pretty intensively 3–4 times a week, for distances between 7–12 km on average. i don’t do treadmills. it frustrates me to do so much running and stay on the same spot. i like the touch of the earth, the solid ground and the concrete asphalt giving me way, bouncing me on. i put earphones on — usually podcasts of different types. Management, self improvement and TED are among my favourites. occasionally i will listen to some music, but that will be a rare incident. it makes me engage too fierce fully with the running activity, and tiring me out instead of pushing me forward.
but theres more to that.
running has turned out to be one of my greatest teachers. through the years, its tought me lessons of all kinds. it plays as a metaphor, simulating real life (as if running isn’t part of “real life”…) experiences, and letting me in on the values and tendencies needed to succeed. to become. to grow. in the following, i’ll try to share some of these lessons. Who knows, it might make someone approach this act of fitness from a different perspective. might even make them get up, get out and get going. i believe its a gift. let me tell you why:
no dream is too high, no distance too far. i find it surprising how much weight goes into that simple act of goal setting before i even make one step forward. a small decision of how far am i going to take it this time goes a long way to keep me motivated through it all. goal setting is a commitment between me and myself, and that makes it a lot harder to break. seems almost like my body aligns with my mind, once i decide to take it far. the energy is summoned almost by request. resources are created to match the goal, no matter how long or how far i’ve chosen it to be. to set a goal is halfway getting there.
the better you prepare, the easier it is. preparation requires discipline. it requires patience. preparation makes you think forward, anticipate challenges and obstacles, imagine ways to overcome, rehearse the scene in your head. preparation requires matching what you want with what you can. makes you put the right energy in the right place, effectively allocating your ability to meet your expectation. to prepare is to practice with an open mind — to anticipate the cost without the price to pay.
every plan needs the right execution. that’s where the planning meets reality, and that’s where adjustments are made. agility and flexibility, best used when the strategy is clear. change the plan as much as you need, but stick to the strategy. when are you coming on strong, when are you drifting for speed. when are you kicking down hard, catching your breath or stretching the line. the strategy you choose has all to do with the outcome. the one you choose to be best.
you start running, things feel great. the blood is pumping, breath is pacing, and the air is literally blowing through your hair. its all fine until that moment a voice starts whispering in. Condolence, self pity, compromise — name it what you like. It’s that voice thats trying to convince you to choose differently. to quit. to slow down, to pause. so easy, its a matter of pure choice done in a split second. its right there waiting for you, just grab it. and that’s the lesson of persistance kicking in. not to give in. to stay on top of high intensity without letting go, without choosing the easy way out. without opting it out. staying on track, on the move. laughing at the face of the easy choice, the realm of the weak. keep it going.
some of my best experiences running are the ones i set out not knowing where or how it’s going to lead. where the path will take me was a matter of chance and not of choice. Letting go of a fixed and known path, choosing the unfamiliar, the virgin, the wild. going places i’ve never been, seeing things for the first time. taking choices one after the other, not knowing the way but trusting the path. The adventurous mindset will increase my heartbeat in a good way — sharpen my senses — open my eyes. The adrenaline of the unexpected, the rush of surprise with an itch of vulnerability and an ounce of fear. All mix into a healthy blend of thrill.
As much as running is the main event, the after party is just as important. After taking things to the thin air of your ability, the transition phase from that Adrenaline rush to a calmer state is important to be managed and payed attention. The overview of body parts, the pacing down, the breath catching, the muscle stretching. They allow the body and mind to fully absorb and digest the intensive activity, and transform it into pure energy to be taken henceforth to the rest of the day. It allows for that dynamic and powerful burst to be funneled and utilized effectively rather than evaporate and disappear.
A pair of shoes and a road. Running teaches the elegance of simplicity. The true value of the pure and basic. Less is truly more, and the endless outer world joins the endless inner self to an incredible harmony of simple joy. Breath, beat, pace, forward. Tree, trail, wind and sweat. Nothing added nothing lost. In a world of over and beyond, the abundant more, the power of choice is hurled and confused, spinning on drunk and awkward cycle not getting anywhere. That’s when the simple acts of mankind, the basic physical, mental and emotional movements are truly of value.
So there you have it
7 lessons this teacher of life is giving me through a constant routine of outdoor running. And surprisingly they keep coming — those life equivalent masterclasses and insights. If I just let my mind open to the vast horizon in front of me, those clouds keep appearing in the sky offering me clues and hints to endless questions of being.
Of moving forward.