Friday, February 18, 2011

Zen and Running

Before there were gels, GPS watches, and mp3 players there was running. Before a "barefoot running" craze, moisture wicking fabrics, and entering your name into a lottery hoping to get into a race you wanted to run, there was running. Now I am as guilty as anyone when I load up for a long run with a GPS, iPod, hydration system, phone, etc to get through the miles. But I remember when I first started with nothing but my shoes and my lungs. There was a simplicity to it.

Enter Fred Rohe, and his book, Zen and Running ( click here for PDF version). In this flowing dialogue which reads more like a poem than a book, Fred shares his thoughts on running. Here is just a sample.

You decide what rules you want to play by.

There is one principle useful to all who run: Run erect as possible

Don't overdo it,
Under do it.
You aren't running because
Your in a hurry to get somewhere

Every time you run
You create the quality of your own experience

You will find your dancing run doesn't tire you but energizes you.

The point of your running is to help you become healthy, happy, and wholly you.

You are not running for some future reward, the real reward is now!

Let's let our running be real.

With all of our technology is our running like that at all? Could you forgo all the "extras" and just run to run without regards to time, pace, distance? What might that look and feel like?


Justus Stull said...

I have tried to leave the garmin and ipod at home. For me it just is not as muvch fun without them. If I wasn't training for something then maybe it would work, but why am I awake right now at 5 am? No way I get up this early just to do some zen running.

Unknown said...

I like the thought of Zen running but it's probably something I would do in the off-season as opposed to the racing season.

Like Justus, I presume we are both achievement driven so the thought of running and not achieving makes it kind of dull.

But at the same time we as runners need to find balance - and that - is when we begin embrace the zen.