Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Running to distractions


Were you to ask any group of runners the main reason why they run I'll bet most would say they do it because they just love running. Fair enough, there is much to be said for the experience. Among other things, there is the changing landscape, fresh air and the feeling that you are doing something challenging that also benefits your health. So what's not to love?

As I padded downstairs at 4:01 AM this morning to get my pre-run coffee it occurred to me that there are things about running that are not so easy to love. Like waking up every day at 4:00 and running by 4:10. Like enduring freezing cold winds, muscle pulls or hot humid conditions in the name of reaching your distance goals. I think most runners are okay with the idea of suffering. Somehow it plays into the love thing but I'm not a psychologist so I can't defend that theory. I'm discovering that my main source of suffering, fatigue, has begun to give way to a more insidious issue: tedium.

Running on the treadmill this morning yielded two emotional responses. The first was "Wow, this feels great, I wish I could run for another half hour." The second response came near the end of my allotted run time "OMG, I can't run in place while I stare at the furniture in the room for another minute." It's not just the treadmill either. This weekend, as I ran through my neighborhood without any fatigue and conditioning issues to distract me, I began to wish for something new to look at besides cars and houses.

This may be a reason why I'm thinking so much lately about trail running. It would be great to look at a changing landscape that actually is a landscape. I wonder if anyone sells systems that simulate outdoor running by projecting trails on the wall that move at the pace that you run. That may be overkill. I also keep thinking about spring when I can do my early weekday runs outdoors, providing there's enough light to see and be seen. That would be better than staring at a cabinet.

3 comments:

  1. I second the treadmill experience - I've gone so far as to place a widescreen tv in front of mine, but since I"m not much of a tv person, most of the time even this isn't enough! Here's hoping spring will help....

    I'll look forward to hear about your experience with trails!

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  2. Yes, trails are awesome! I love trail running more than road running. Since you have to pay attention to every step, there is no possibility of boredom. The scenery can't be beat. Plus, it is an overall better workout and helps strengthen the muscles that keep you stable. You'll find out quickly if your knees and ankles are in shape! You'll also find road running becomes much easier when you do trail running regularly. There are lots of trail races out there too!

    I remember your post about trail shoes a while back. I do have some technical trail runners and I love them. They are waterproof and fit like a glove. Since I do moderately technical trails, I find them invaluable. These shoes have saved my feet from rocks and roots on innumerable occasions. Mine are Salomon XA Comp 3 GTX. Worth every penny.

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  3. I've found that the TV becomes too much of a distraction when running. I once watched a football game while on the treadmill and practically got vertigo.

    Trail running is sounding better and better. No possibility of boredom is a compelling reason to pursue it. Plus I'm hoping to include my wife and kids in the experience. I know how hard it is to hike some trails so running them must be very tough. Anything to increase strength is a positive though.

    You are the second person to recommend Salomon's. Adventure Girl, one of my key advisors, swears by them too. She also uses them when shoveling snow.

    Thanks to you both for the gear suggestions. I want to buy a Garmin 405 and some Salomon trail runners this weekend!

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