>When Did Running Become So Complicated?

>“Run, Forrest! Run!”

Whatever happened to the days when we could just go out and run? Like we were kids. Without a care in the world. Without prepping, stretching, planning, and concentrating? Like Forrest Gump did?

Monday night as I ran, I contemplated the act of running. For a change, I really enjoyed my run – just because it was a run. It was simple. I grabbed my shoes and just….ran. I didn’t wear my iPod. I didn’t have to wait for my Garmin to synch. I didn’t even use my stopwatch. I just…ran. I wasn’t concerned about how far or how fast I went. I just went. I was able to listen to my feet hitting the sidewalk, the whoosh of passing cars, and the breeze in the trees. I was able to feel my run. Not to get all metaphysical, but it was a very centering experience.

While I was running, I kept thinking about how complicated we triathletes make something that is so simple that humans have been doing it for eons. Seriously. We make running so damn complicated.

We think and talk about our cadence. “You must have a cadence near 90 footstrikes per minute,” the experts say. To get that data, one must count. Adjust. Re-count. Re-adjust. Count again. Practice makes perfect.

We are told that we shouldn’t heel strike. The industry has totally embraced this, and is now flush with minimalist running shoes. Over pronating is a bad thing. Shoes are built to help offset that. We have to be cognizant of how our feet land on the pavement or trail. We must be mid-foot strikers.

Many of us are data junkies. We are slaves to our Garmins and heart rate monitors. We instinctively and repetitively check our watches. We monitor our pace every few steps. We analyze data following runs.

In the end, going for a run for many triathletes is more than just putting on shoes and leaving the house. It’s a process. A project. It’s complicated.

While I understand the needs for a run to be such (and often make it so myself), I so long for the ability to just run for the sake of running.

Run, baby.  Just run.

11 thoughts on “>When Did Running Become So Complicated?

  1. >Training is one of the few places in life where we feel full control. But running without a plan is a great option!

  2. >Great post! I'm not a big comment guy, but this was worthy of one. I've found that in my (pre-sunrise) morning runs I get this feeling. I love when it's dark out, and I know few others are getting at it that early. I'll hurry out the door with just a watch and any running clothes I need. I'll even do tempo or interval stuff. I pick up the pace when I want to, I recover as I need to. It's beautiful. I have no idea how far I go. I often do laps around the art museum or up and down the stairs. The only reason I bring the watch is so I'm not late for work!

  3. >Awesome post! I call those my "no ego" runs – they don't happen very often but when they do, they are phenomenal. Great run! 🙂

  4. >I love this post. I started running because I loved running. But lately I worry about running way more than I used to (when? where? how far? how fast? how often?). Thanks for reminding me of "the why."

  5. >I used to love to run, just to run no watch, no clue how far I was running, just went.As I started training to get faster everything changed and now I spend all the time on my running thinking about the data…how sad.

  6. >Serioulsy, I am way into naked running (I mean naked of electronics)While I see the benefit to the HR monitor and stuff (I use one a lot now since my coach has me training in HRzones) – for me that crap all sucks the joy out of running for me. When I see a run that just says run for x amount of time, I am THRILLED.Also worrying about my cadence and heel strike and are my shoulders relaxed and everything just stresses me out and makes me not enjoy the run at all. So anyway, I loved this.

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