Running is everything and nothing at the same time...
If it's pride you seek, the image of a runner can pay your ego's reward
YOU are a runner.
Ah yes, but are you not also the music you listen to? The work that you do? A citizen of your world? Of course YOU are ALL of these things. And... you are NONE of them. They are simply passing through you in time or, rather, you pass through them.
Think of yourself as you will. If it's pride you seek, the image of a runner can pay your ego's reward. But there's no reward like presence itself. Running will not give it to you or take it away. Running, like all things, will be there as a vehicle for self expression when you are ready for it. You don't need to BE a runner. You will never be a runner... anymore than you are the music of the song you are singing. This realization and the WAY you run once there, is how you truly MASTER THE ART~
You don't need to BE a runner. You will never be a runner...
Run. Sing. Dance. Battle. Love. But remember, these are just some of the gifts of time. You are none of them. Thinking of yourself as any of them is merely an expression of the fragility of the human experience and the need to feel valuable, important and, perhaps, immortal. You are smart and you know your awareness of your SELF in this world is important for survival, for work, for putting food on your plate. But do not confuse society's obsessions and rewards with your own progress or even presence and experience. Something greater awaits those with the ability to find it.
Even barring injury or plateau, the gains become fruitless when progress is reserved for the clock.
The true reward, the true WAY, is to immerse yourself completely in the moment as it comes.
Traditional running as a sport lends itself to the obsessive and compulsive natures of man. Gains are made through repetition. But this is not true. It's only arguable on the right timeline. Too long or too short of time spent within the obsession will tell different stories. None of which lead to the self actualization humans crave on the deepest level. Even barring injury or plateau, the gains become fruitless when progress is reserved for the clock. This habitual comparative of the fastest time you've run against all others over that distance...
"What's YOUR marathon PR?" "2:23... what's yours? Is THAT fast enough?"
It's ok, you don't have to give all that up. But you can't become the essence of anything until you strip yourself of all expectation, identity and even self worth associated with it. Strip yourself of titles. Strip yourself of ego. This is the beginning. This is the place where you can transcend, expand, progress and evolve.
The magic, which is nothing more than a oneness of all things simultaneously (just that!), occurs with or without an optimal training plan.
There are so many specific techniques, skills and strategies that are an integral part of the pursuit of speed. I have personally obsessed over as many variables as I could get my hands on, especially in regards to the marathon, running's greatest enigma. But my own journey, my own progress, would be cheap if we just drew a timeline of the Personal Records over time and what workouts coincided. This is not the story. We are not robots.
Beyond the workouts. Outside of the pace, distance, weekly volume, number of weeks in the base phase and on and on and on... The magic, which is nothing more than a oneness of all things simultaneously (just that!), occurs with or without an optimal training plan.
To truly master the entirety of RUNNING, you must first release yourself from its grasp.
It almost shouldn't take mentioning that mastering running is about mastering the physical, mental and, perhaps, spiritual realms within yourself and within the sport. That's easy enough.
Just the physical aspects of running fill many, many books. Thankfully we all have access to what has been learned by humanity in regards to optimizing human performance in this physical plane. All we have to do, then, is put the information together and know how to apply it to an individual in time. Easy, depending on how you see the world.
But the mental... the list gets smaller. And spiritual... rare indeed.
Or is it? Perhaps we're looking in the wrong place for such teachings? Perhaps the teachers of these realms are not to be found in the RUNNING category. Ah yes, how obvious when you step back and look from that angle.
So now, we can take it one step further, which is right back to the beginning...
Running might as well be any other thing in your life... Your breath, thoughts, feelings, emotions or some physical action of your body. Running might as well be walking. Talking. Dancing, singing or fighting. As important as you consider it... As much as you love it... To truly master the entirety of RUNNING, you must first release yourself from its grasp. It must find its place in the "matter of factness" realm where you consistently do that thing you do. Where you simplify, not complicate. Where you meditate, not stress. Where your everything simultaneously equals your nothing.
...the path to mastering this lifestyle, the Way of the Run, is through a oneness within yourself.
The techniques need an application. The skills need to be organized. The path must be lit throughout the darkest night. This is coaching. This is where people like myself find joy in guiding. But whether it occurs before, during or after the physical training cycle, the path to mastering this lifestyle, the Way of the Run, is through a oneness within yourself.
**post script: One of my favorite sources of direction and guidance on this subject is Bruce Lee's Jeet Kun Do. And yes, Bruce Lee ran! But... was he a RUNNER? ;)