Run like a child…
…or what we can learn from kids
Running – that’s what kids do effortlessly and with pure joy. I remember that feeling of a wind blowing in your smiling face. You don’t think about – in fact, you don’t even know yet – your pace, distance or running’s benefits for your health. You just run and laugh.
Later, when I grew up a bit, I began to notice, that other kids were faster. Even though I still loved running, faster kids began to annoy me. The start of comparison was the end of the childish joy of running.
Later at school it disappeared almost completely. In order to be popular among other teenagers you have to be agile, strong and fast. Although I practiced pull-ups and regularly watched basketball, I was closer to nerd. While running, I was dead after 200m, puffing and feeling nausea – everything in front of my laughing schoolmates. Needless to say I started to hate running at that period.
Time has passed. I graduated, met my wife, found a good job… Then my son made his first steps and – still uncertain, but full of joy – tried to run. Looking on his smiling face I suddenly remembered that long gone feeling. The joy of running.
It was an awkward moment when I stood on a treadmill for the first time. Nobody could watch on me because I was alone in my vacation hotel’s gym that day. I know a lot about positive thinking, “be yourself” things etc. But visualizing running outdoors I just kept seeing schoolmates laughing at me. I chose the treadmill near the window, so I could see the golf fields, and pressed “Start”. Later, with my face red and legs in pain, I went to the shower proud of myself because I’d done that!
Amazingly, “private” treadmill workouts gave me the confidence. Of course, after a dozen of sessions nothing could stop the boredom – even the view from the gym window. But I already got what I needed.
When I went out for a run – and did it again and again – I realized, that my fears were just the consequence of a bad school experience. There were runners slower and clumsier than me, but they enjoyed what they were doing. Some of them actively spread the feeling I had seen on my son’s face, easily described as “run like a child”.