Run for Your Life…

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

–Haruki Murakami

I hate running. I used to tell people that running is bad for you. It hurts your ankles, it’s bad for your knees, the impact is bad for your spine and your brain, etc., etc. 

I still don’t love running, but I no longer hate it. 

You need to be able to run. It’s a sign of fitness and agility.  It’s also an indicator of strength and endurance. 

In my dreams and in my mind, I’m often running.  I’m running to or from something. I’m fighting villains. I’m searching for someone. I’m chasing something. I’m battling something. In those adventure dreams, I’m a fantastic runner.  In those movie-like scenes, I’m a great fighter. In real life, however, I need work in the speed and endurance space. The only way, in addition to practicing and lifting, is running. 

At first, it really sucks. Thinking about the whole distance is daunting. It makes you not want to go at all, so you don’t.

Next, you say to yourself, “Ok, just run. Don’t worry about speed or distance”.

Then, challenge yourself for short-bursts at different intervals. Make it a game: “Ok, self, let’s go to that 3rd tree…that next stop sign, that 10th telephone pole, that green house, that brick building, that bridge…” and so on. Suddenly, it’s about pushing yourself just to that next point and realizing how far you’ve gone, how fast you got there. You wake up one day and realize you’re not saying, “I’m not a runner” anymore and that you are. 

It’s not unlike the journey of a martial artist: one day you can’t do the push-ups and the forms without wanting to die, to realizing that you have effortlessness and flow to your movements as they become automatic and part of you. 

Don’t accept what you never were before, for you can suddenly be so much better than you ever were. Running is not bad for you. It helps you train for your art. It keeps you fit for fighting. It enables you to run toward somewhere you want to go and chase it with speed, endurance, and an intensity that’s stronger than your self in your dreams.  Do it for real…

…run for your life.

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