There is a simple beauty in running that most other sports lack. What are the requirements? No ball, special field, uniform, nor goal post is needed. There are no strict rules or an enforcer like a ref or ump. One can run in a group but it is just as easy to grab a pair of shoes, open the door, and just go. So simple and so refreshing…anytime and anywhere….
After my tenth marathon, I got bored and tried to transition into triathlons. They were a lot of fun, but there was more to worry about in preparation. Did I have the best swimming gear? Are my goggles going to be too tight this time? Do I really need to pay $2000 for a bike? Making the transitions between the events was awesome, but I recall missing the simplicity of running races when a friend on an extremely expensive bike passed me. I was on a 30 year old ten-speed, but since he had told me that he had not trained at all, I figured that the bike gave him the competitive edge. In running, the shoes are about the only variable. A decent pair can be purchased for $50 and I have not found a huge difference between the $75 shoes and the $150 pair.
The vigorous and painstaking effort in training helps us to discover our liabilities and deficiencies. I have learned that I need to get at least 7 hours of sleep to run hills. If I get less than that, my body can’t seem to find the strength to ascend. Coffee is a necessity to get the motor running on the cold mornings. Without it, I feel cold during the entire run. By discovering what I need to run well, I can move towards a constant and persistent self-improvement. My ambivalent feelings then disappear and the boredom that many of us feel at times (like I did after the races) is alleviated.
Running is simple. Running well and constantly bettering one’s times is more complex. This self-awareness and fine-tuning does not happen overnight but with a genuine effort that potential can be realized.