Week 2 – Off the treadmill and out into the wild

Last week I asked for advice on a few things concerning my running journey, which is going very nicely thanks for asking and I should be ready for Comrades by this time next week.  Which is pretty good when you consider I have only been training for one week, and most of that week was spent on the couch with the flu.  But I digress.

Specifically I asked for help with:

  • Distance running can be tedious – how do you keep it interesting?
  • Running on treadmill – good or bad?

People were pretty emphatic about whether treadmill training was the way to go when preparing for a half marathon.  The advice included “Ditch the effing treadmill!” to:

The problem with the dread mill is that
a) it’s shock absorbing – meaning when you transition to the road, you are more prone to injury
b) it propels you forward rather than you having to do it yourself
c) it doesn’t activate a lot of the muscles you will use on the road

Ditching the “dreadmill” this week had the added bonus of helping with the tedium of running, as the scenery really improves once you swap the gym for the local park.

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As I slot into my running schedule I am trying to put aside time to read a bit more about the culture of running. I’m starting with a book that was leant to me by an Attendly colleague called “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” – Haruki Murakami.

Murakami is a guy who considers “serious” running to be at least 136 miles a month, or 218 kilometres. While I am not quite there yet, I found his response to the question of “What do you think about when you are running?” quite interesting.

“I just run. I run in a void. Or maybe I should put it the other way: I run in order to acquire a void. But as you might expect, an occasional thought will slip into this void. People’s minds can’t be a complete blank. Human beings’ emotions are not strong or consistent enough to sustain a vacuum. What I mean is, the kinds of thoughts and ideas that invade my emotions as I run remain subordinate to that void. Lacking content, they are just random thoughts that gather around that central void.”

Maybe therein lies my solution to the tedium of distance running. Perhaps the answer is not to try and make it interesting, but to instead let go.