Friday, March 11, 2011

How It Works

Sorry for the hiatus. I needed a mental break. Lately I've been easing back into things. I ran my first workout in quite a while last night, and the increased blood flow to the brain ignited those same old dreams.

This is how it works:

Training is doing your homework. It's not exciting. More often than not it's tedious. There is certainly no glory in it. But you stick with it, over time, and incrementally through no specific session, your body changes. Your mind becomes calloused to effort. You stop thinking of running as difficult or interesting or magical. It just becomes what you do. It becomes a habit. 
 
Workouts too become like this. Intervals, tempos, strides, hills. You go to the track, to the bottom of a hill, and your body finds the effort. You do your homework. That's training. Repetition--building deep habits, building a runner's body and a runner's mind. You do your homework, not obsessively, just regularly. Over time you grow to realize that the most important workout that you will do is the easy hour run. That's the run that makes everything else possible. You live like a clock.
 
After weeks of this, you will have a month of it. After months of it, you will have a year of it.
 
Then, after you have done this for maybe three or four years, you will wake up one morning in a hotel room at about 4:30am and do the things you have always done. You eat some instant oatmeal. Drink some Gatorade. Put on your shorts, socks, shoes, your watch. This time, though, instead of heading out alone for a solitary hour, you will head towards a big crowd of people. A few of them will be like you: they will have a lean, hungry look around their eyes, wooden legs. You will nod in their direction. Most of the rest will be distracted, talking among their friends, smiling like they are at the mall, unaware of the great and magical event that is about to take place.
 
You'll find your way to a tiny little space of solitude and wait anxiously, feeling the tang of adrenaline in your legs. You'll stand there and take a deep breath, like it's your last. An anthem will play. A gun will sound.
 
Then you will run.

15 comments:

  1. "the easy hour run. the run that makes everything possible." here here.

    I can't wait until I can cruise through 10 miles as a comfortable hour run...

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  2. Thanks, guys!! I hope to update the blog more regularly going forward!

    I am glad folks are still reading.

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  3. More like they will run, you will race. Good to see you back in the saddle Jeff, enjoy the ride.

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  4. Your writing flows just like you run.

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  5. still reading, still forwarding to my runner pals, still resonating with the words you write - thanks!
    ~HappyFeat

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  6. This found its way to a post in the Boston Marathon section of the Runners World forums. It was so well stated that I had to come and take a look at what else you've had to say. And then I started my own blog.

    Excellent capture of the how and why of what we do.

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  7. Thank you Happy Feat for sticking with me.

    Troy, I'm glad you started the blog. I just checked it out. Laying stone is a great metaphor.

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  8. Jeff,

    Awesome stuff as usual. Thanks for writing!

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  9. Keeps me motivated!

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