Reading a novel recently ( Beautiful Ghosts, by Eliot Pattison – an intriguing mix of crime thriller and Taoist reflection on the culture and modern history of Tibet) I came upon a passage from the Tao that immediately made me think of running:
“The stronger the attachments, the greater the cost”
Approaching a run with a specific goal or expectation can help optimize results, whether in training (go long or go fast, intervals or consistency at a specific pace, go all out or baby that latest minor injury…) or just for health and recreation (to explore a new route, join with other runners, tick off a personal first…). Holding those goals too tightly though, can lead to overdoing it, and that in turn can lead to injury. Even without injury, failing to achieve a too-closely-held goal can turn an otherwise exhilarating experience discouraging and dispiriting. Any of which can lead to less running.
Repeated and regular running is the most basic goal of a mid-pack runner, and enjoyment is the best incentive for that. Enjoyment of the setting, of the human body’s incredible potential, of being part of the quiet family that is all runners, of putting one’s own health and well-being – fro a small period of time – ahead of the multitude of demands which life can make…
So, set goals and monitor them, but never let them get in the way of all the other blessings of running.