In the documentary movie about long distance running, Spirit of the Marathon, one of the runners is interviewed about her involvement in the sport. While she and her friends are always planning their runs to see how much better they can do, always looking at their watches, she admires the runners that just go out and run…without watches and gadgets. She calls these types, the “zen runners”. In addition, I have also read that it is good sometimes to just go out and run for running’s sake, to have fun, to just run. Today turned out to be one of those days (more by accident than plan), and when they happen, I log them as “Zen Runs”.
As I said, today’s was mostly by accident. We had another warm morning with the northern cold and the southern humidity trying to battle it out over who gets control of the weather. It had rained just a little when I was getting ready, but it had stopped. I was more intent on getting the run in without getting wet that I didn’t pay attention to not having my garmin on my wrist when I took off. So, I thought today was a good day for a zen run.
Not that I had no gadgets at all, mind you. I did still have my iPod. I don’t really like to run without it. I used the stopwatch on the iPod, but it’s only a general guide to how I did. It’s not very accurate the way it has to be used. It was also pretty good to have a zen run today because it’s my most unstructured running day. It’s the day for gentle pickups.
If you don’t know what those are, you can read about it here. I often do an altered form that uses my heart rate monitor as the control for when to start and stop the pickup. However, I haven’t been wearing the monitor during my daily runs of late. They aren’t really long enough for it to matter. Today would just be the old-fashioned type of pickups; no timers, no watches, no monitors.
Since I didn’t have very many gadgets today, one might wonder how to log a zen run. Most often, I run on a route that I know pretty well. Today’s was a 5K route that I have previously measured with the garmin. I also know pretty well how much time it takes to run the distance, so I just log down the distance I know and the usual time and let it go at that. It’s not super accurate, but it doesn’t have to be to be a decent record. They are easy to spot in my log as I don’t usually run times that end in exact minutes (a 00 for the seconds).
A zen run isn’t meant to be mystical or meditative (who meditates when working this hard). It’s just a moniker that means I didn’t care what the time was or what the actual distance was or how good my pace turned out. I just had a good day running, that’s all. I put about three pickups at the beginning of the run and another couple at the end. Just enough to pick up the pace and get some speed in during the week.
I am also breaking in new shoes this week. I picked up my long run/race pair this weekend at my favorite running store: Luke’s Locker. I think I freaked out my salesperson. Carter has put me in shoes for the past three times. He knows what I should be wearing so he seemed awfully puzzled when he noticed I was wearing Asics Gel-1160′s. The 1160′s were ones that I picked out at Christmas when I bought shoes on my own, and are usually meant for overpronators (I underpronate a little). They’ve been good and will be a good pair of during-the-week shoes. However, I could not tell whether Carter was concerned if someone else at the store had put me in such “incorrect” shoes or whether to chastise me for doing so. I’m sure he was at least happy that I bought my usual pair of Asics Gel-Nimbus before I left.
On a different note, I have been encouraged by a few that I should take this blog commercial. I don’t say professional as I’m not one of those yet. I haven’t researched it much yet, so I don’t really know how to do that. However, it would be nice if I could afford my vices (running, biking, etc) by writing. On the other hand, I don’t want any reader to think I was saying something just because I got paid. That would go against my own beliefs. If you have an opinion on this issue, positive or negative, let me know in the comments. I’m interested to know what the reader thinks. After all, a writer with no readers is a poor craftsman.
In any case, remember sometimes to just go out and run…no purposes, no timers, just go and have fun. Take a zen run and then all the others that are out with their timers and gadgets will think you’re cool. Happy running.