Since 1982 I've written a newsletter, Running Commentary. A new issue appears here each week, and material is archived.

Sat, 05 May 2007 05:28:11 -0400

Happy Talk


(rerun from May 2001 RW)

An early books of mine opened with a description of a morning visit to a doctor's office. I greeted the receptionist cheerily. Her coffee hadn't yet done its job, and she said grumpily, "My, aren't you Mr. Bubbles today?"

Half a lifetime of added living has popped some of those bubbles. But I'm still feel happier than the typical man on the street of my vintage.

Running helps keep me that way. I've made a habit of looking for, then clinging to, ways of running happily.

My list of 50 starts with someone elseís line. Crosby, Stills and Nash didnít sing it for runners, but itís sound advice for longtimers facing the inevitable slowdown:

"Don't let the past remind you of what you are not now"... Start a fresh set of PRs every five to 10 years... If you canít outrun many other runners, take pleasure in outlasting lots of them... Instead of counting those who "beat" you, look at all those who dropped out, planned to start and never did, and canít or won't run at all... Set low race goals, the least you'd like to do, then surprise yourself with how far you exceed that minimum standard.

Pick heroes and favorites whose results you follow... Meet a celebrity runner and see that he or she is more like you than different... Don't think that these runners owe you entertainment... Let stories of top runners instruct and inspire you, but not intimidate you... Read the writers who think what you have thought and puts it in better words.

Say "hi" to a passing runner you don't know but who greets you in return.... Give a call or send a note to celebrate a runner's triumph or to sympathize with trouble... Offer advice to someone who asks for it... If you spend your days surrounded by people, run alone... If you're a loner all day, run with a partner or group.

Run by time for an unknown distance so you aren't haunted by a known pace... Or run a known distance without wearing a watch... Combine distance and time only in races and hard training where it really counts... Take pride in the minutes adding up on your watch and in your logbook, knowing that only you could have put them there... Zero the watch for new run, knowing that it's time to start over.

Find a new course, or vary an old one... Drive to a prime running spot instead of running the same well-worn path from your front door... Go where the cars don't... Shake off jet-lag and explore a new city with an on-foot tour soon after arrival... Make a mini-vacation of a race trip.

Iron out an irritating wrinkle in your running routine... Keep your training plan simple enough to write on a 3x5 card, if not a Post-It note... Decide how you feel after warming up for a mile, not before the start when the body tells lies... Finish a run feeling better than when it started... Finish a race faster than it began.

Earn a shower after getting good and sweaty... Earn a day (or more) off after a hard one... Return eagerly from time off... Push the right buttons that solve an injury riddle... Appreciate all runs more after losing some.

Run into the dawning of a new day... Run at noon to break up a long workday... Run late to calm down from a hard day... Run to work up an appetite or to work off a meal... Run on days when conditions keep fair-weather runners indoors.

Adapt to the weather instead of griping about its eccentricities... Go out in peak daylight of winter... Strip down for the first time after a long winter of overdressing... Wait until dark on a hot summerís day... Feel the first chill of fall after a long summer.

Go to a race with someone who helped you get there... Run a relay race with a team that depends on you and celebrates with you... Volunteer at a race to help others run easier and better... Keep the non-runners closest to you unburdened by your running, and youíll feel happier yourself... Run with a dog to see what true happiness is.

Previous Posts