Thursday, February 3, 2011

View from the Back: Speed and Success

Jeff Galloway has said, “The only benefits of speed are for the ego; all the other benefits of running can be achieved at a slower pace.”

I won’t downplay the role of ego in our lives. The ego challenges us to improve, and measures the results. That’s a good thing. However, the ego can also set the trap of all-or-nothing thinking, defining success in limited terms. When it comes to running, the ego likes speed.

Many of us have some early success with speed. Personal bests get better with every race, even if we aren’t faster than others. However, all of us eventually slow down. We are tempted to stop because we will never win our age group or qualify for Boston. But first, let’s look at those other benefits of running.

Running—at whatever speed—brings fitness. Running helps maintain a healthy weight. Running stabilizes the emotions and enhances mental focus. It strengthens the immune system. It offers the opportunity for solitude, and the opportunity for social connection.

The community of runners is remarkably welcoming and supportive. Whether we are running with a buddy or reading the Run Wild Missoula newsletter, we are enjoying membership in that community. We have in common the joy of moving, the success of getting off the couch and out the door, the accomplishment of confronting the weather and overcoming the power of inertia.

On Monday February 7 at the Runners Edge (downstairs) at 7pm, we will have another chance to connect. If you are a slower runner or walker, come to the “Back of the Pack Meet and Greet.” We will be talking there about how we can build activities and opportunities uniquely designed to support you.

-Pam Gardiner, Leader of the Back

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