On Running: Time for Renewal
Time for Renewal
March is a time of renewal for me. It always has been. The first time I see a robin I feel like the cold, dark days are behind me, and brighter days are ahead. It's a good feeling.
Running feels different in the springtime - better. That first run in shorts and a t-shirt is all the reward I need for having braved the winter months. The air seems easier to breath and the sweat on my face makes me feel like the effort is worthwhile.
I know others feel the same sense of renewal, and it inspires new runners to venture out for the first time, but it's different for them. The strain on their faces shows that they've been hibernating through the winter months.
I remember my early running years, when I could afford to do that. I'd start running in early March and I would race just a couple weeks later. We were made to move, and our young bodies remembered that.
It's not that way anymore. Inactivity eventually convinces our body that we are done with exercise, and it adapts accordingly. A spring morning may stir the soul, but it takes a bit more to awaken the body.
Many of the new runners won't make it for long. Soon, the nice weather will become ordinary, and that won't be enough to bring them outside anymore. The normal routine will make its demands, and time will seem better spent on other things.
If you're someone who's just starting out, I have something to offer you - be diligent. There's a reason why you started running, and it was a good one.
It won't be easy. There will be cold mornings, wind and rain. And, that isn't the worst of it. You'll have aches and pains and they'll try to convince you to stop. Other priorities will get in the way. Run through it all. It feels good to be out on a perfect day, but it feels great to face a challenge and overcome it.
The convenient excuses will be easy to find. Many will turn them into reasons, but the reasons to run are more important than the reasons to stop.
Running has taught me that conditional promises don't mean very much. It's shown me that I can get beyond all the disappointment in life if I can keep from disappointing myself. Running, especially on days when running isn't easy, has always given me a sense of accomplishment, sometimes on days when I felt like I've accomplished little else.
I started running because it fed my competitive spirit. Many start for health and fitness. Most runners keep running because it gives us a sense of renewed confidence and self-esteem.
So, I'll check the temperature before I venture out. I'll fight a little internal battle before I put my running shoes on, but for me there's too much at stake. I won't let my success be subject to circumstance. Neither should you.
Dave Griffin writes a bi-weekly running column and offers coaching to high school and adult runners of all levels. Contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.