I like thinking about running, because running changes how I think.
As I was running through the neighborhood, a couple miles away from home the other day, a steady downpour soaking me – this is wintertime in Seattle – I could not help but smile.
Then a thought emerged for me in such clarity that I could not shake it: One thousand miles of this. Well, perhaps not exactly that, but . . . by the time I was nearing the end of the run, I understood, I have something I want to do this year: Run one thousand miles.
For some this might seem like a lot, for others perhaps it is a rather modest goal. For me, this feels just right.
I like running. I did not used to, but over the years I have come to enjoy it and I am grateful, I have this in my life. There is a lot to get out of it.
It is very helpful to find joy in a healthy, physical activity. Of course this is about exercise and fitness, being active, when much of work keeps me close to desk and the Internet.
But that is only the beginning. There is depth and value here, if you are willing to look for it, and running provides (for me) a perfect setting to practice and learn.
Here are some immediate examples.
- Motivation. Often you just need enough to get out the door.
- Discipline. To do this regularly, regardless of weather or convenience or feeling like it.
- Mental clarity. Seeing clearer enables clearer thinking and better decisions.
- Struggle. I find myself thinking about struggle and the activity of productive struggling often. Running is a useful environment for examining struggle.
- Solitude. Doing this will often have you find yourself alone, with your thoughts.
- Community. There are lots of excellent people likewise finding joy in this activity. Do this alone and together.
- No shortcuts. There is purpose in the distance.
- Simplicity. Economy of motion. No fuss, no waste. Simple actions over time.
- Not quitting. It means you stop when you are done, not just when you are tired. Easy to say.
- Again and again. This is not about training for, then accomplishing one special race. I like that, too, but this requires ongoing effort throughout the year. I love that.
The activity gives you plenty of time to think. In addition, I like to reflect.
All of this of course transfers. Many of the lessons to study in an endurance sport can have, well, enduring value in other areas of life.
A journey of a thousand miles?
Well. It changes you.
Now I do expect I will be writing about some of that over the coming months.