Wise Running

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run.

Tag Archives: cross country

Going to Your Happy Place – Finding the Joy in Running

I drank some Gatorade Pro, but I didn’t want to.  I put on my running gear, but I didn’t feel like it.  My allergies were acting up, I wanted to take a nap, but I am in training for a marathon… so I begrudgingly trudged out the door.

parkAs I was driving to the greenways for a run, I was imagining which course I would run my 4 miles.  Hal Higdon’s Advanced II training schedule said I should run 4 miles at my target marathon pace.  Should I start out by the Earth Fair market and run down the 3rd Creek Greenway.  No.  I almost always run that.  I don’t feel like it.  Should I start out at Tyson park and run towards the UT football stadium?  Nah.  Just don’t feel like it.  Should I run Cherokee Boulevard, where I had “Slayed the Specter of a Bad Run” before?  No.  I really don’t think I’m supposed to run hills today.

I turned towards that one anyway.  “After all,” I reasoned with myself, “I’ve got to run somewhere.”  Thankfully, as I approached the parking lot near the zero mile marker on Cherokee Boulevard I saw something inspiring:  the cross country course at Sequoyah Park!  I have watched my kids run several cross country races there.  Each time, I was reminded of my own high school cross country career.  I always told myself that I would run the course and see how I would do.  Today was the day!

Seeing the park this morning triggered good memories of my kids and the good memories of my high school experience.  I was immediately drawn.  My body was a few minutes behind my heart.  I was a little stiff.  I jogged a few hundred feet and stretched just a little.  Right there and then, I decided that my body would just have to kick in because my heart was saying, “Go!”

I ran the full 5k course and added 1 mile.  I started out stiff, but trying hard and squeaked out the first mile in about 7:30.  I started to get a rhythm going and gradually loosened up.  I was running in my happy place…caught up somewhere between old memories, new memories, & the flat grassy area I was running on next to the river/lake.  I was caught up in several moments at once and all of them were good.  :)

I ran the final 2.15 miles at around a 7:00 mile pace and walked another half mile back to the car.  My goal for the day was to run 4 miles at around a 7 minute pace.  I managed to go a little farther, on grass, and kept it at an average of 7:08.  Not bad for a day when I just really didn’t feel like running.

The main accomplishment of the day, however, was capturing the joy of running when I didn’t seem to have it.

How do you get to your happy place?

“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

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Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & Future Runners  Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

Running in the Family: Leading by Example

“My earliest running memories start when I was 5 years old.
My dad was a runner as well, so I would wait for him
to come home from work so that he could time me!”
–Katie MacKey

Once in a while, I get the honor of running with one of my kids.  Three of my six kids have run cross-country and one of the other three has recently become a personal trainer.  Did I cause this?  Probably not.  Perhaps cause is too strong of a word.  Influenced might be more appropriate.  When they were younger, they saw me work out periodically and go for a run once in a while.  That was before I started my second running career.  What was I doing to influence them towards fitness activity?

  • I was working out and jogging for general fitness and I talked about the benefits.
  • I did not require them to join me, but I would invite them to join me periodically.

I must have talked about it and/or invited them to join me hundreds of times before it started to happen.  We had weights in the basement and periodically, the boys would give it a go for a while.  Gradually, one or two kids would periodically ask me to go run a mile with them because they wanted to “get in better shape.”  Each had their own reason, usually for sports or just to look more fit.

Other adults and some of their peers added to the invitations.  Their school added cross-country to their sports and peer pressure pushed one daughter over the edge.  The next year, one son joined the cross-country team.  His stated reason was specifically to add an activity for his college applications.  One more daughter joined the team the third year.  She just wanted something to do.  I don’t care why they decided to start running.  I’m just happy to see them out there doing it!

In the last few years, I increased the intensity and frequency of my runs.  I call it my second running career.  I was fairly competitive in high school cross-country and track, but my first career was stopped short by injuries.  Once I began to give all I had to running, my trips to the gym to lift weights have became few and far between.  At that point I offered my gym membership to my oldest son.  He loves to work out, so he jumped at the chance.  He eventually worked his way into a job at the gym and just recently became a certified personal trainer.  He runs nearly every day as a part of his overall program.

I did not cause my kids to become runners, but I was a part of what influenced them to make that choice.

How do you lead your family and friends into fitness & running?

  1. Be excited.  Display your excitement about your fitness and running activities!   Excitement is infectious.  Talk about the positives for yourself and others.
  2. Invite them to join you.  Be persistent and positive.  Never require.  Never argue.

REMEMBER:    You cannot argue someone into fitness.  Fitness takes commitment.  Even if arguing does somehow manage to get them to do something, they are unlikely to be motivated enough to stick it out long enough to begin feeling the benefits.  They need to want it.  So, stick to the positive influence approach: Just invite.

Enjoy the run!

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The Gift of Running is now available in both paperback & e-book

- Paperback Version – Amazon.com $9.00

- Ebook Version – Kindle Store $2.99

- Ebook Version for Nook $2.99

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