Philosophies of running

Musings of a pragmatic philosopher/passionate amateur jogger!

On my early morning, delightfully summery jog today, I was struck by the realisation that running really carries volumes of life philosophies. 

These simple truths for a run, hold true too in the long run of life:

  1. Get up early.  Most runners will recognise that the slog of getting up on a cold dark morning is directly proportional to the blissful serotonin rush post run.  And it’s humanly impossible to feel stressed after a fun – try it! In life, sometimes things that look like sacrifices (like giving up a warm bed) are actually gifts to ourselves (an energetic, happy and healthy start to the day).
  2. Honour your unique place.  Comparing myself to the pace setters ahead and the plodders just behind will take me out of my uniquely comfortable pace.  In my life, there will always be those, who in my thoughts are just getting it all right, and there will always be those, who are just a bit behind me.  But it’s just my own judgement. Accepting where I am, means I can enjoy my own journey through life, without feeling either inadequate or arrogant and disrespectful.
  3. Be energised by those around you. Running with a friend, is one of the warmest (both physically and emotionally!) human experiences.  Often it’s the chats and laughter shared with my fellow runners that gets me through my low energy moments, and makes for a really fun run.  Appreciate those on your life journey, and choose to run with those who energise you.
  4. Recognise time for solitude.   Just as fun as it is to run with friends, there are also good times to run on your own.  Some of my most spiritually uplifting moments have been in the calm of a solo run where I am totally open to, and engulfed by, the experience of a magnificent sunset or a delicate bird singing on a branch as I jog past.  In life, it’s the time on our own, open to the magnificent glory of this world, that we can really tap into the divinity that we are part of.
  5. Appreciation multiplies itself.  I sometimes find myself forgetting that I am actually running as a sense of pure appreciation carries me through a route.  Running takes you closer to beautiful places, and recognising that enhances the experience.  So too in life, reminding ourselves of the small, yet ever present blessings, emphasises our experience, and ability to be fully present in the moment.
  6. Always let yourself be guided by your dreams.  The reason I am running today, is because of a dream to run my first marathon.  It seemed a near impossible idea at the time, which was part of the allure.  By consistently running, taking each day for what it offered, my dream is about to become a reality.  In life, dreams only seem overwhelming when they are far away.  But we can’t get closer to them, and realise them, without having them in the first place.
  7. Slow down.  With running, you can only get fitter, faster, stronger if you rest enough.  Allowing yourself to slow down is part of the training.  Respecting our body’s needs is a necessity.  Resting, taking time out, sleeping enough all too often seem like luxuries in today’s driven society, but its as important for performance as the working time/training is.
  8. Be Inspired.  My reason for joining a running club, was because of the encouragement and inspiration of a fit, sociable and very inspiring 70-odd year old runner, who was clearly as passionate about life as about his running.  Choose to focus on those inspiring and energising individuals who cross your path, or run alongside you, in life.
  9.  Just enjoy it! Many of us runners have some sort of goal in mind (be it to manage our cholesterol, run a fun run, lose weight, or just run comrades!).  However, the reason we keep at it is simple – for the love of running.  Love the journey of life, and appreciate the little steps along the way, and the goal will become less important, and ironically more achievable.

–          Judith Matthis

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