Let’s face it. As far as running is concerned, I don’t amount to much.
Fatally holed below the waterline by a lack of natural talent. Slowed by having the build not of a wiry, skelfy, sinewy running machine, but of a farmers son. Frequently outpaced by Rolo, a large, lumbering Labrador, who in dog years is even older than me.
It’s very much a case of doing the best with what I have. So what’s the point? Why persevere? Simple. Running benefits me in more ways than I can count. It’s taught me lessons which I try to reuse, recycle, re-employ elsewhere:
You get out what you put in
Frustratingly for me, there is no short cut to being the best I can be. No hidden reserve which I can call on when required. So I’ve learned that there is a clear correlation between hard training, four or five days a week and decent running. Dammit.
On the plus side however, hard work can compensate for lack of natural ability. ‘Going the extra mile’ is a phrase bandied about by lazy theorists who’ve never actually run a mile. But extra performance definitely comes from that. And that’s a transferable lesson running has taught me.
Some people get their inspiration from art, politics or irritating reality show celebrities. I get a lift from being around people who I can see are showing determination to make progress and succeed every day.
In my running club West End Road Runners there are plenty of them. People who are taking big steps forward with their running and as a result, earning the support and respect of their peers. A network based on momentum. It shows me what’s possible and for me, seeing everyday greatness is immensely powerful and motivating.
Dealing with Setbacks
Running can be unforgiving. Believe me. You can train for weeks, pushing yourself day after day to prepare your body and brain to a level which gives you confidence on the start line. Then you turn into the wind, the remnant of a storm that’s blown in from the Atlantic. And there’s not much you can do, other than to do your best.
You know that you can’t do any more, and that there will be another race around the corner, and you know that you are in good shape. And you move on. It’s not much of a problem compared to real and serious setbacks which you could face. But it prepares you for when something more serious happens. And that has real value.
So run! I think it helps you be someone.