I’ve been writing about various aspects of running for four years covering training facets, gear, and injury prevention. Despite the complexity of some of these topics, I still believe there is a beautiful simplicity to running.
If you watch animals and children run, they do it with such exuberance and joy. I often think, that’s the way of it. We should all run with joy and the excitement of what it will bring into our lives. I know there are tough days of running. Even on tough days we can find joy in the experience.
We have all of these fancy gadgets and gizmos for running now and new ones come out all the time. These are great tools to use, but they can also be a hindrance. We get so caught up in the numbers whether its distance, pace, or heart rate, that we forget why we first started running and to enjoy the fact that we are running.
A string of tough runs and disappointing race times can lead to a loss of the joy of running and this is when it’s most important to return to the simplicity of it. Ditch the GPS tracking, ipod, heart rate monitor and just get out there. It’s even better if you can hit the trails or a mountain road, if you’re a road runner.
In reality, all you need to run is some good shoes and clothes that don’t chafe. Runners who are able to maintain their interest and love of the sport are the ones who continue to believe in the simple joy of running.
Simply running can teach us many life lessons. Lessons all the gadgets, gizmos, and training plans can’t teach. Running has taught me to appreciate each day, to respect and care for my body, to surpass the “impossible”, set goals and achieve them, and many other lessons.
Running also builds strength of character such as determination, ambition, honesty, self-worth, respect for others, respect for the world around us, humility, belief in our own ability to do hard things, commitment, grit, and tenacity.
Our fascination with the many aspects of running and all the tools out there to “enhance” our running is fueled by our love of the sport. These wonderful tools and loads of information can also rob us of some of that love.
Take one of your runs this next week, and just run. Rediscover the simplicity of your feet hitting the ground, the rhythm of your breath and heart, and the wind brushing across your skin.