Cold outside, uncomfortable, few if any races on the schedule…. the running season is over, the discussion on runner’s websites seems to have switched to either how to stay fit during this time of holiday stress and festive overeating, or what to plan for next year.
The talk is of the off-season.
How, though, can there be an off-season to running when running is a part of life?
And, it can be loads of fun ;)
We wouldn’t be taking some time off from our lives, after all – or would we?
I find the theme fascinating, for it points to some of the deep truths of life that are so often going missing in these times of the industrial schedule. Jobs require that work be done all the same, summer or winter, low tide or high water, day or night… but we aren’t made for that.
Rocks may not have a life, but even they are influenced by the weather and the seasons. All living things certainly have their times and rhythms. We forget that at our own peril, and research into accidents and health problems shows that the graveyard shift, for example, bears the right name, for more reasons than just the time when it takes place. It is indeed a hazard, both as a cause of accidents and as a source of health problems.
So, it would be a good idea to follow natural cycles and take winter as a better time for taking it easy than for training hard.
Then again, there is no other time when it is more advisable to move regularly and get out of overheated homes, which are either too dark in the day or too bright even at night, and out of kitchens full of winter time’s sugary and fatty treats.
This time of year, with the dark and cold, it takes fat, sugar and spice to raise the mood – but then, it also would take physical activity in the cold to go with it, to get what sunlight there is at the right (day)time for it, and get into the cold and work that burns off those calories.
Different times of the year and different times of a life should have a different focus.
Looking at runners who hurt themselves and should rest or cross-train but are so enamored of their sport, they can’t pause even if it would allow them to come back stronger, only drives that point home all the more.
There is no time out from life, no off-season to better action, though.
“Should I run or not? Now, later or tomorrow?” should not be questions for a (healthy) runner. Keep your equipment at the ready, and go.
Same with other aspects of life.
“Should I cook or eat crap?” (Not that anybody would ask it like that, but, all too often, it is the actual choice.) Buy sensible ingredients, have the tools at the ready, learn how to make better meals more easily – and a bowl of rice and some steamed or stir-fried vegetables is great and done in a matter of minutes – and do something, in your life and for your better living.
Or what, do you want to just vegetate when you should be abuzz with life, whether that be exotic adventure, nearby exploration, or the pleasure of maintenance work of life well mastered?
Life won’t last long anyways, so be here, in it, while it does.