As a lifelong runner, I have always relied on a long, soaking run for balance and energy, but since my injury three months ago I’m forced to look elsewhere. I got to thinking about where runners who are injured or non-runners go for balance and energy.
In my case, once I acknowledged my condition and accepted it, other sources of energy flowed naturally. The bottom line is to diversify. Following are sources of energy I’ve found that were always in my life but I was too busy to notice:
- Writing – It’s hard to imagine that scribbling on a pad or tapping on a keyboard could fill a marathoner with energy, but I am now writing with more purpose, and appreciating each idea, thought, and feeling that I create. I’m not rushing my narrative, but giving it the care it deserves. I’m surprising myself.
- Reading – Reading has taken on more meaning to me. I pause a little longer to absorb and ponder concepts that authors present in their prose. That pause is helping me understand things about human nature that I might have breezed past. It’s invigorating. Really!
- Hiking – Fortunately, my injury hasn’t affected my ability to walk, and therefore hike. I can still get out among nature and see wildlife, ice form along the banks of a creek, narrow winding paths that disappear into the wilderness. A walk or hike is incredibly therapeutic.
- Relationships – I’m kind of amazed at how conversations with other people have taken on new meaning since I’ve slowed down my routine. Rather than rush from one encounter to the next, I’m listening more, or at least hearing things that I might have missed when my thoughts were rushing to the next workout or other activity.
- Volunteering – I’ve run with folks who live in a shelter for two years, but the injury has caused me to walk. I’ve been fortunate to get to know some of the older or disable residents who walk while the runners run. It’s helped me to be more open with them, and them with me.
I always say that everything in life has a purpose, one that isn’t always apparent. I was bummed when I had to duck out of my first ultra-marathon in January, but now I’m finding meaning in the downtime this injury has imposed upon me. My challenge will be to maintain this perspective when I’m back to full health and training for that ultra later this year.
Don’t rely on one thing to fill your life. Diversify your interest, talk with people from different walks of life, try new things, breathe, live.