Why I Run
I’ve got to hand it to The Oatmeal (Matthew Inman) for so very much getting it. Read this. I have to confess; I don’t run because I particularly enjoy it. Let me clarify – I do enjoy the experience of an organized marathon or half-marathon:
- The pre-run Expo with its samples and freebies, coupons and discounts
- The feeling of community waiting for a race to start with thousands of others
- The experience of traveling through neighborhoods I’ve never seen before or haven’t seen since before they changed or gentrified
- The knowledge that I’m burning hundreds of calories and can eat pretty much anything I want (that day – that coupon expires same day if I don’t want to go into a weight gain free fall)
- The strangers cheering me on with funny signs or offering fruit or salty stuff
- Of course, the thrill of crossing the finish line and
- The medal I can hang on my wall.
So while there’s many good reasons I run, few have to do with actually enjoying the work of it or getting some kind of high from it — which is why The Oatmeal’s works on running resonate so with me.
Partner versus Team
I’ve run a dozen or so marathons over eight years and more half-marathons than I can count. I’ve trained alone, I’ve trained with a team, and this time I’m training with the help of a running partner. Training alone is challenging: the accountability (lack of) factor. Training with a team can be tricky because of the need to coordinate multiple schedules and manage a broad range of paces. You have to wrangle volunteers for water/fuel stations on long runs, etc. Training with a partner, like Goldilocks’ “just right” bed, is the just right option for some people. You have accountability, and you have less moving parts to coordinate. Combined with a good training or fitness app, this is a good way to make progress.
On Running and Training Apps
I love that, as mentioned in my Daily Gratitude post the other day, there are running apps. Yesterday we ran a training run and it was great to have a summary of the course, average speed, calories burned, etc. using Runkeeper.
I think you should take advantage of professional grade tools if you want to see improvement. I’ve talked about KT tape in my Daily Gratitude. That’s one product that has really, really helped me.
Recently, using a gift card I got for my birthday, I splurged on a pair of grown-up running pants by 2XU Compression. No, they were not cheap. Nor were the $15 Features running socks with no seams — anatomically correct for the left and right foot. But I figure, if I’m not going to train very hard, I need all the help I can get from my equipment.
I have made myself accountable for the LA Marathon, at least a little, by putting on my calendar 3 training runs – an 8 miler next week, a 16-miler in about 4 weeks, and a 20-miler in about 6 weeks. At least one person at work has accepted my invitation. My goal: a PR of sub-5. Slow, you say? Yes, but to me, it’s not about the time (so much) but more about the journey. Each run, particularly the full marathon, is a metaphor for life. Hills to climb, downhills to coast on, perfect strangers cheering you on, counting on your equipment (shoes, tops and bottoms, and yes – socks) to support you and not chafe you along the way.
About this Page
I run marathons and half marathons. I confess, I don’t train nearly as much as I should.