More than five hundred miles into this year’s goal of one thousand miles of running, this has been rewarding and a lot of fun already! Of course, eventually getting there means quite directly to spend the time and cover the miles. Sometimes you are more excited about that and sometimes less.
Sometimes an hour of running is something that just needs to get done, to meet the weekly goal, to keep up. But there is also joy in the activity. It is there, but needs to be seen. A running partner can help a lot. One of my favorite running partners is our dog.
The word means strong in German – and that was on my mind, when we had to pick a name for that very energetic German Shepherd puppy in the summer of 2019. The name has proven descriptive. Now four years young, Stark is strong, smart and highly driven. Also, he loves running. This makes him a wonderful companion, when we are out on the trails, regardless of the weather, perhaps miles away from people.
It is also very helpful, in moments when I might struggle getting out the door in the first place, especially when it is very early in the morning. He usually seems to believe that going out on a run is perhaps the absolute best, most exciting thing we could possibly do. His exuberance is then almost comical, as he is not just panting and wagging his tail, but literally hopping back and forth and around me — impatient and eager to just get going already!
The notion of struggle is important for learning and growth, for working towards goals. The practice of running provides a useful environment for engaging in struggle. I wrote previously specifically on the aspect of chosen struggle in the context of running. Particularly here, I get many runs over time. Every one of those is of course a new opportunity to practice, a new opportunity for productive struggle and growth.
As you get more practice and you increase your base, you also get to struggle with different things. Effectively, the edges of your comfort zone move and change over time. That has been my experience. As I have gladly increased my weekly mileage, my longer runs have also slowly started becoming longer on average, I have started tackling more challenging terrain or conditions, and so forth.
Somewhat to my surprise a new behavior emerged for me over the past month or so as part of that.
There are some great podcasts out there. Intelligent people invest themselves and create engaging productions to convey valuable information. Depending on your interests, you can probably find something that you would find worth your while. I can believe this — and still not find myself able to actually do it. So I never really spent time with podcasts – until recently.
I have discovered that there is a time, when Podcasts work pretty well for me: On a run, by myself, mostly on the road. The Knowledge Project is my default choice. Sometimes I am out running for two or three hours, which is usually enough time to finish an episode. Leftover time for quiet reflection is welcome. Many of my runs are of course shorter. Not finishing an episode is okay, too. I usually restart it on the next run. Repeated listening is not a bad thing.
The journey changes you. I am looking forward to the next five hundred miles.