I am going to take a few extracts from Mystical Miles written by Paul Vorwek who is a couch to extreme runner on both tar and trail. The more I read his book the better I understand my own views on running and what makes us runners. It also helps me to coach others in a more holistic way.
” Running begins as physical effort and practicalities: training , stretching recovering; of dealing with injuries, nutrition, sleep and supplementary exercises. This running becomes one of goals and targets; of running measured by achievements, victories, personal bests, training schedules completed and distances run. This is also a world of running filled with technology, gear, gadgets and shoes. Out of this running come all the great athletic events; the races and records, the successes, failures, heroes and villains.
This first dimension is dazzling, exciting, vibrant, competitive, replete with ongoing achievements and celebrations; a celebration of people their doing and Life.
The second dimension of running is all this and more. This running grows out of the first dimension. This second dimension of running is the running enabled by running. It’s the running inner paths as well as the outer tracks, trails and roads; it’s running the inner and outer into one; it is the running of moon-tan and star -shimmered waterfalls.
The richer miles begin when the body, mind, soul engage with all that lies outside the runner. They grow as the outside world reaches in and engages with deeper parts of the runner, and grow fuller more when the two , when inner and outer become one.
The second dimension of running allows and later requires the uniqueness in each runner, in each of us, to blossom, to let the life in us bloom. It is from running that I learned how rich running can be, how it becomes so much more than just running. While we share some things we are essentially and existentially unique and it is that uniqueness that will colour our running.
In other words: our running, experiences and thoughts will differ, but for all of us they can be incredibly rich.”
” And then,
Sometime in the next day or so I will run. Choose a shirt and shorts. My socks choose themselves, the brightest yellow or green, even if they are a little hole-y. I will tie my laces. I’ll feel a familiar, peculiar, puckering, pre-run feeling as if my skin sensors have been switched on- somewhat like the feeling when the national anthem is played. Anticipation will rush through me as I remember all that running means to me.
I’ll begin. Probably walk a few steps and then lift myself into an easy stride. Step by step, my shoulders, arms and neck will loosen. I’ll know more or less how far and hard i’ll run. My mind will ration and distribute resources, manage the emergency reserve, fill it too if it gets a chance.
Breathing deeper and smiling, I’ll be running real in a real world. If it’s been raining I’ll probably shake the branches of a tree. Will glance upwards and savour stars, first glimmers of sunrise. Or clouds, or the perfect blue.
Most likely, I’ll shout or whoop, or jump on a bench. Unshackled I’ll run faster, feeling the goodness in the day; fostering life, opening myself to love, light, to learning, to experiencing every fragment of beauty and wonder. My legs will churn happily, rhythmically tracing a path over the planet.
Through city, suburbs or across a field, maybe next to a river or sea, welcoming whatever rushes at me, I’ll run. Deeper than any other feelings, will be that feeling fully alive, the enjoyment and satisfaction this brings. I’ll know deep inside that I am satisfied with my life and have a powerful reason to go on.
The road will unwind before me, and I’ll run down it into perfection.”
Read the above extracts from The second Dimension Of Running. Mystical Miles and try to see what drives you to run.
In the beginning it is all about strain and hard work to achieve even a small improvement but if you stick with it you will soon enough find that the joy of running or having a more active lifestyle brings greater rewards than you ever dreamed possible. I know that most often when running I seem serious and focused but inside I am smiling and laughing at myself. I do often write programs for others that reflect what I see inside of them and the possibilities that they might not of realised yet. They say things like I cannot run that fast or cover the distances required, however with a little prodding they surpass even these seemingly insurmountable obstacles and realise that they are better than what they thought.
I also believe that training for an event must be fun otherwise why would we willingly sacrifice so much to achieve something that most times will not matter to anyone else but ourselves. It is when we start enjoying the feelings we experience while training and running that makes us want to carry on with our journey and never actually reaching the end.
Set what to others seem crazy goals and ideals that are seemingly out of reach and if you do reach them then look for other goals as the journey is most times more rewarding the end goal. Run with others as the company makes hard work feel easy. Run alone when you need to focus on getting through a tough patch or hard session. Run on the road, trail, beach or park to get you motivated to get out the door. When you see that you can survive a tough session while running, you realise that when life feels tough you can and will survive and keep moving forward.
Enjoy the running journey and all the rewards that it will bring.