Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Running as a metaphor for life

I’ve been running for 25 years and the more I run, the more I realise it can't be separated from any other part of life. It might sound heavy, but to many runners life is running and running is life. In this post I will look at how and why running is a superb metaphor for the way we live.

It’s a social thing

I’ve met some of the most amazing people I know through running. We share a connection and understanding of each other. Most importantly, we are incredibly loyal – both to our sport and to our friends. I am lucky enough to call the amazing New Zealand runner, Sarah Christie one of these friends. It was Sarah who shared some influential words from former 5k New Zealand record holder (and her ex coach), Dick Quax: running and life cannot and should not be separated in order to get the most out of both. At the time I was too young and naive to really understand what she meant, but her words certainly registered and now I truly appreciate their meaning.

It’s a reflection of good vs bad times

I moved from New Zealand to London in March and the shift really helped me comprehend what Sarah meant by not being able to separate running from your life and vice versa. The roller coaster of jumping hemispheres has had a good mixture of wonderful and tough times. It’s exposed the way that when things are smooth and wonderful, so is my running: the training, the racing and my body’s response to it. However, tougher times mean the opposite: motivation for training is lacking, race performance is below par and running is something I simply have no energy for.

It’s a measure of energy levels

It comes down to the fact that we only have so much to give each day. When we’re doing something that makes us happy, we have energy left to do the things we love, like running. However, if we spend our day in a draining job or situation, all we feel like doing is putting our feet up. The same goes for racing; when life is going well we race well and when times aren't so good, performance drops.

You don’t always have to perform highly

Running is a good variable of measuring your current situation. If it feels easy, natural and you feel excited about getting out for a run then things are very good. If life is a bit bumpy then running might be a put to the side for a while and that, my high achieving running friends, is ok! So what’s the answer? Life is too short to not have anything to give the things that we are passionate about. Find a job or lifestyle that makes you happy and allows the time and energy to enjoy running. If your life accommodates your running, your running will work for you and your life.

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