The Release of Running
by Walker Rainford
If you ask most people what they would think of taking a three mile run every day, they might look at you like you’re crazy or maybe like you are one of those people obsessed with fitness. Until my freshman year of high school, I would have reacted much the same. At my father’s request, I signed up for cross country to become more active in school. While the first few weeks were difficult and left me feeling as utterly exhausted as I had thought I might feel; the more I got in shape, the more I came to truly enjoy running. Out in Falcon, with the open, endless space left before you to run, it can be an amazing opportunity to relax and find time to think without seeming utterly unproductive. The steady cadence and shorter stride of a lengthy jog might easily settle into the back of the mind, leaving the mind free to wander where it may without the distraction of a body at rest.
"...leaving the mind free to wander where it may without the distraction of a body at rest."As the season pressed onward, I found myself anxiously awaiting our Monday workout, when we ran north, along a dirt road for an hour or more past open fields where cattle graze. I was able to use this time to think, about my life, school, and anything else pressing on my mind. Running allowed me to release the stress I piled upon myself, and to solve my troubles. My darkest of moods were moved to serenity by the open space and silent trails we ran. I am truly glad my father prompted me to try running, because without it, I wouldn't be the person I am today. It has brought a level of wisdom and balance to my life that I have lost in the past.
Even after the season ends, and life goes back to my normal routine, I make time to go for a run in my neighborhood especially on the days where it would first appear that I don’t have the time to spare. The opportunity to run, even on days crammed with homework, allows me the chance to think things through, and gives me a chance to plan the rest of my evening, as well as acting as an aid to me for finding the answers to problems I’d struggled with throughout the day. This very essay was planned when I went for a jog to clear my thoughts and calm myself after a tough day at work.
The next time you find yourself lost in a jumble of thoughts, consider going for a jog, or even a walk if a jog sounds like too rigorous a workout for the time. Find a long road, or a route that you know well, and let your legs take you where they may. The clarity that comes with a walk will likely leave you rejuvenated, and ready to go back into your life, with your mind sharpened and your body loosened. When I return home and begin on schoolwork, I’m often
able to do better and gain more if I’ve run prior, as I find that the events, both past and eventual, are no longer clouding my thoughts with questions and uncertainties.
Even if you don’t have something looming or especially troubling on your mind, your thoughts will lead to stressors that you weren’t aware were present. The time with nothing more than scenery and your open path let your mind wander as it will, and given time, your mind will always sort itself towards that which is troubling you or concerning you, sitting at the back of your mind with a false label of something resolved or of no concern. When these are sorted out, you can almost physically feel the clarity and the calm that will reach your mind,
something we often seek fruitlessly. Your mind is an extremely powerful tool, and like any tool you hold in your hands, it must be cleaned and cared for, lest it cease to function properly. If you leave your mind and your thoughts unattended over time, you will lose the ease with which you could once think without ever realizing it. The first thing you do upon reaching this clear state brought by the time running gives to think will surprise you, being accomplished with an
ease you might have long forgotten.