There was a time in my life when I thought the ultimate goal of running was to compete, and the greatest happiness to be derived from training was to win. For me, there was no worse feeling than not being able to race up to my expectations. Not surprisingly, I discovered that my happiness and self-esteem were directly linked to my win/loss record. I began to question the wisdom of this approach; I began studying the nature of competition itself.
“Effort makes the being vibrate at a certain degree of tension which makes it possible for you to feel joy. Those who are essentially lazy will never find joy–they do not have the strength to be joyful!” (1)
Feeling the vibration of joy will give you a deep incentive to keep going. You may even find it stronger than tracking your activity or posting performances on the various social networks! More significantly, it connects you with a second energy, much like the survival impulse we share with all living things. Making an effort uses energy, but it also produces more heat, more “fire.” That’s why we say there is always a “kick” no matter how exhausted your legs feel.
When you choose to take on the weak and rebellious parts of your nature, you enter into a fiery struggle between “yes” and “no.” Do I take the time I need to get my run in today, or do I procrastinate further? Should I slow down, speed up, or stop altogether? Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to struggle. Unless you’re over-ambitious, foolhardy, or vainglorious, you won’t injure yourself by pushing your legs and your lungs.
When you feel good you will run farther and faster. That’s the easy part of training. If you’re having a difficult day, stay with the effort, even though you will not cover as much distance. Every workout can be a good workout as long as you make the right amount of effort. The key to your future happiness and fitness is your willingness to joyfully do battle with your weaknesses.
Remember that persistence will do what cannot be achieved by force. Drops of water wear away a stone; a cloud burst will leave it unchanged. A very modest plan of action, carried through to a conclusion, (add comma) can produce astonishing results. (2)
Take your work seriously and yourself lightly. Never stop to regret failures or excuse them. They have gone out of your present moment and there is nothing you can do about them. (3)
Approached with more fire, a run turns into a creative situation. The value in it is self-discovery. All kinds of human qualities emerge – things that you may have never seen about yourself before. Now that’s motivating!
(1) Excerpt from “The Sunlit Path” – by The Mother
(2-3) J. G. Bennett, Transformation, Claymont Communications – 1978