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Views On Running


We runners talk about having fun but I don't think anybody believes us. We talk about discipline and endurance, we take care, we exercise caution, we watch our diets and monitor our pace. We are ascetics who talk, unconvincingly, of the bracing enjoyment of self-abuse.

- Peter Sagal -

The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.

- John Bingham -

Four years ago I wanted to see how far I could run without stopping. I made it to my traffic signal and back, which was two miles, and thought it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Now I get up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, lace up my shoes, and go for a run. It's like getting sleep - running that's ingrained... Running let's me take a break and gain some clarity. Short term, long term - it's about taking baby steps all the way to the finish. 

- Ryan Heuser -
(Cofounder and President of Paul Frank Industries)

If any of you want tips about running, never be in a hurry, and never let any of the other runners know you are in a hurry even if you are... I ran to a steady jog-trot rhythm, and soon it was so smooth that I forgot I was running, and I was hardly able to know that my legs were lifting and falling and my arms going in and out, and my lungs didn't seem to be working at all, and my heart stopped that wicked thumping I always get at the beginning of a run. Because you see I never race at all; I just run, and somehow I know that if I forget I'm racing and only jog-trot along until I don't know I'm running I always win the race... I was in my element that afternoon knowing that nobody could beat me at running but intending to beat myself before the day was over.

- Alan Sillitoe -
The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner

For me, running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that’s why I’ve put in the effort day after day: to raise my own level. I’m no great runner, by any means. I’m at an ordinary – or perhaps more like mediocre – level. But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.

- Haruki Murakami -
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

When I go out and race, I'm not trying to beat opponents, I'm trying to beat what I have done...to beat myself, basically. People find that hard to believe because we've had such a bias to always strive to win things. If you win something and you haven't put everything into it, you haven't actually achieved anything at all. When you've had to work hard for something and you've got the best you can out of yourself on that given day, that's where you get satisfaction from.

- Ian Thorpe -

Successful distance running draws on many traits. Speed is a gift from our parents. Physical strength helps, as do leanness of the body and efficiency of movement. Mental strength – sometimes defined as a 'high pain threshold' – plays a big role, as does a strong motivation to succeed. But no trait better defines a distance runner or is admired by runners than endurance. This is the ability to persist, to go the distance, and come back for thousands of tomorrows. The best one-line statement ever written about distance running didn’t come from a coach or author. It came from an anonymous ad writer for the Nike shoe company, who coined the phrase 'there is no finish line.' As a runner, you aren't looking for places to stop but for ways to keep going. You greatest victory doesn’t come at the end of any race but in running that never ends.

- Joe Henderson -
Better Runs

It hasn't always been smooth sailing. There have been many times when I have struggled in my running. I've dealt with injuries. I've wilted under pressure to perform. But through it all, running has always been a relief and a sanctuary—something that makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. Which is why I want to help other people fall in love with running. For me it's not so much about the health benefits. Those are great, but I believe that the best thing about running is the joy it brings to life.

- Kara Goucher -

A run begins the moment you forget you are running.

- Adidas -

Running is a 'no B.S.' sport. You earn the success you achieve. There's no way to fake it. You must do the work, put in the time. There is no other way.

- Kevin Nelson -

I always loved running... it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.

- Jesse Owens -

It's an odd thing, when your body says no and your mind and your spirit say yes. It's frightening and empowering and clarifying and beautiful all at once. It was the past year of my life, shortened into a span of 26.2 arduous miles. It was the culmination of experiences, the knowledge that my body can be pushed pas its breaking point, just like my heart.

- Kristin Armstrong -

Let's just say it and be done with it. Racing hurts. But here's another truth: having put in the effort to prepare for a race and then not giving it your all hurts even more. The first kind of hurt goes away in hours or a day. The second kind of hurt can last a lifetime.

- Larry Shapiro -
Zen and the Art of Running

Although we runners claim to be minimalists, we're good at making running complicated. It has to be the right time of day, the temperature just so, shoes broken in but not broken down, iPod fully charged, not to mention the pressure of making a time goal. It's a wonder we ever get out the door. It wasn't always this way. Once upon a time, most of us ran with pure intentions - no race to train for, no PR to beat - just the expectation of feeling better for having done it.

If you find yourself saying, 'I can't run unless...' or 'I can't run without...' your running is being dominated by ritual clutter, says Julie Morgenstern. 'Ritual clutter comes from making something into such a production that the activities and thoughts associated with that thing become almost paralyzing,' Morgenstern says. 'You've externalized your power to run with all these conditions. You need to disengage your running from all those thoughts and say, 'I can run. Period.'

Decluttering your running - stripping it of physical and mental accretions and streamlining your routine - will help you rediscover that 'spirit of running.' As a result, you'll enjoy running more, and you'll probably do it more often.

- Scott Douglas -

It is not the finish line that matters. It is the struggle that went before.

- Jeremy Chin -
((Author of the book Fuel).)

I like to think I live a virtuous life: being honest, generous and all of these good things. But the courage comes out when those things are tested. And the point in my life when those things are tested is in races. You can be courageous or not courageous, but that in and of itself is not a virtue. It's when your virtues are tested that you rise to the occasion or not.

- Jenny Barringer Simpson -

No matter who you are, no matter where you are in your training, you will come to the point where you think you have hit the wall of your limitations. It doesn't really matter if it's running a mile in four minutes, or finishing a 10k in under an hour. At some point, you have to make the decision to do more than you ever thought you could. No matter what the voices in your head are telling you, when you keep going, something magical happens.

- Mia -

If you aim for a lifetime of running, you will hit bumps on the road. Heck, let's be honest: You will hit something that looks like Mount Everest, and on the back side a gulf as deep as the Grand Canyon. The challenges we each encounter are uniquely ours, but they will come. We all have good years and bad. Shift happens...

Life requires us to make adjustments, to change course. Some years, when the waters of your life are calm and you feel a sense of control at the helm, you'll race hard, and hope for personal bests. Other years, beset by a perfect storm of turbulence, you'll have to settle for less. That's okay. Less is still something; just don't surrender and abandon ship.

- Amby Burfoot -
(Winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon)

What sort of runner are YOU?

For the intrinsic runner, running is personal and spiritual. It is about inner peace and solitude, communing with the elements and gaining an inherent satisfaction from the sights, sounds and sensations of running. If an intrinsic runner competes, they do so against themselves, because satisfaction and a sense of achievement come from within rather than from timings on a board. Most intrinsic runners wouldn't be too bothered if they never went running in a group or a race field again. 

The extrinsic runner is a far more sociable character when it comes to hitting the bricks, and will gain running satisfaction from being in a group and comparing themselves to others. Although they won’t be unaware of the more Zen aspects of running, their real kick comes in how their running relates to other people’s.

Once you've established which kind of runner you are, it will be far easier to plan your running life around the aspects that inspire you and to ignore what is likely to put you off. 

Intrinsic runners should look to make their running as sensory, as spiritually uplifting, as downright interesting and as personally challenging as possible, entering races for the experience of the whole event rather than worrying about setting a new personal best.

Extrinsic runners can give themselves a considerable motivational boost by entering races or by joining a running club or group. Don’t assume you’ll have to miss out on the travelling either, as there are many exciting and highly competitive races around the world.

- Lloyd Bradley -
The Rough Guide to Running 1

I once thought the best racing memories would center on fast times and long distances run. They don't. They focus on places traveled and people met. My ability to race fast is gone now. But the best experiences of racing are lasting and always being renewed... I don't want to run races just to reach some arbitrary round-number goal in the distant future, but for what each race gives me immediately. It automatically takes me places where I wouldn't otherwise go, and automatically puts me closest to the people most like myself. I can think of no finer way to spend the rest of a running lifetime than at weekly races.

- Joe Henderson -

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