Many times, when someone finds out that I run marathons, their reaction is confusion. Confusion first, and then, fear that I'll drag them into it!
You can see the questions on their face and, sometimes, actually hear them ask, why? how? WHY?
The answer is simple. Marathon training makes my life easier.
Yes. Training for and finishing marathons brings a simplicity and clarity to my life that makes living easier. When I train for a marathon, I tend to strip away the unnecessary things. Through training, I have learned to manage my time and have discovered what things are negotiable. There is no room, time or energy for the extra stuff - the baggage that weighs me down. This is the main reason I love training. It is odd that it is not the physical benefits that are number one on my list, but the ways in which training effects me mentally and spiritually.
Now, don't misunderstand me, the physical reasons - better health, stronger body, etc. - are on my list as well. The confidence and mental boost a marathon finish, or even a long run finish brings is worth it, in and of itself, even if there were not an official finish line or medal at the end of it. The reward is that I am as strong as I have ever been. I plan to be out there moving for as long as I am physically able, so that I can continue to reap the benefits.
What I am trying to communicate here, is the surprising mental and spiritual benefits of marathon training. I have become more concerned with the simplicity of life, rather than being overwhelmed with the "stuff" of life. This attitude seems to be closely tied to being able to get away from the trappings of life, big and small, get out there on the trail or road and just go. It is liberating. The sense of freedom and lack of distractions brings more peace into my life.
There is not much that is necessary for a long run, other than the ability to do it. The only concerns are fuel, hydration and bathroom stops! These are the necessities. Anything extra that comes along, is just another thing to tend to, and when I am out for a run, I don't need any extras. This mindset spills over into other areas of life. For me, it has grown a desire for less "stuff".
Let's call this the stripping down effect. This is the realization that most things in life are not necessary - they may be nice, they may be convenient, but they are not necessary for my happiness or survival. In fact, many times, it is the extras that cause the most worry, work and stress. When you can strip it down, you are free. I like being free.
Invite simplicity into your life by getting out there and moving! It does not matter how fast or how slow, whether you walk or run, just move. Give yourself some time to adjust to the freedom of distractions. This is the hard work and it is worth it. As you become accustomed to spending time outside, moving, removed from the stuff of this life, this world, you will discover a peace, a stillness that will benefit you in many ways.
I invite you to live fully,
Turning couch potatoes into marathoners since 2004.
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