Some of you may know the drill very well. You get up, toss on the gym clothes and with bleary eyes make your way either to your trusted sidewalk path or the local gym.
Lately, my routine has bypassed the beautiful, cool summer mornings outside, opting instead for the treadmill. Call me a creature of habit because lately I am. As life swirls at its frantic pace, sometimes it is just easier to stick with what we are comfortable with. But, as we all know, marathoners are not made of hum-drum stuff. How do we break through the daily running grind?
Imagine with me, if you will, the following scenario. You are at the starting line of your day, probably a little earlier than you wanted to be there. The gun fires — actually, the bedside alarm screams — and you are off. You have exactly 45 minutes to either achieve excellence or slog through one more workout.
Now, if you are like me, getting geared up for a morning run is not anywhere near as exciting as the starting line on race day. In fact, it could be better compared to slugs running from the scorching morning sun. With an increased workload this week, I am just that agile lately.
But what about willpower? Can a runner’s determination override the desire for a few extra winks of sleep?
Once upon a time at a little running shop in central California, I saw the following quote on one of those motivational posters: “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or gazelle — when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”
Sure, when the sun comes up, I am running. But my tired self probably wouldn’t last about three seconds with a lion chasing my tail.
What is chasing me though, is my own goal. The time ticks closer and closer to a longer run and, unlike me, time does not slow down for anyone.
What I do with that 45 minutes in the morning is up to me. I can keep dragging myself through the same old routine and achieve mediocrity. Or, I can break the gym habit and hit a challenging trail nearby.
A better running quote came from a man who never wore Nikes.
“Does’t thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” – Benjamin Franklin
Sarah Cooper is a reporter with the Sparks Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.