By Dr. Joshua Stevens
There are many great ways to train your legs for a marathon or half-marathon. But this is not one of those articles. This month I am asking what’s the motivation to run these long and challenging events. At first glance, there are many...a fast time, accountability to a running buddy or charity, self fulfillment, a milestone birthday, etc. While these are all great conversational pieces, I believe there is another deeper reason we run long...the quest for quiet.
Running long distances can turn off the ‘monkey chatter’ we experience normally in our daily life. This ‘monkey chatter’ in our minds is the alway on, always analyzing and judging. It is usually very negative and drowns out our good thoughts and emotions. During the half-marathon or marathon, this monkey chatter either quiets down or amplified. This is where your physical training comes in. Those dozens or hundreds of training miles is the preparation we need to silence the monkeys. I would challenge everyone to think more about your run training as tiny doses of quiet time and less about the physical feats of training. Prepare well and this race is something to look forward to; poorly, and you eventually believe the monkey chatter, slow down and quit.
Running long can become a masterful way of experiencing this peace and calm. We usually don’t even know were experiencing it until we come out of it and realize we were gone for a minute. The more we challenge ourselves in training this way, the more our focus becomes singular in a way like no other we have experienced on race day. With practice, the monkey chatter for all of us eventually is silenced. The self doubt gone, we find a few special moments of clarity that bring us back to these wonderful events year after year.
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Joshua Stevens, D.C., is a holistic chiropractor in Chapel Hill and Durham where he utilizes chiropractic, acupuncture, detoxification, nutrition, and cold laser therapy with patients. A two-time Ironman finisher, he focuses on racing cyclocross and mountain bikes... much easier!