The Boston Marathon started in 1897 and is the most highly coveted race covering 26.2 miles anywhere in the world today. I’d like to take just a minute to say ‘Congratulations!‘ to everyone participating in today’s race, to those who have ran before, and those of you who plan to run in coming years. Completing a Marathon is tough enough, but completing one with a fast enough time to qualify . . . yes, qualify, one does not simply fill out a piece of paper and await entry status, oh no, you’ve got to be fast & you’ve got to be good to qualify for this one, and maybe therein lies some of the appeal.
26.2 miles of hills & windings through Boston is appeal enough. When I think of Boston, I still think of the Mighty Might Bosstones, Dropkick Murphys, Sam Adams Brewing and all that fantastic Revolutionary history. Arguments have been made that if it had not been for Boston, our country would still be a scattered concoction of disgruntled colonies. Of course, history is more complex than that, but so are Marathons, so is running . . . and running is what motivates us, at least in part.
Running is really something we’re born to do. As babies, we want to move, and we want to do it fast. Back in those ‘good ol’ days’ there wasn’t all this thought, theory & blatant intellectualization into the process of what it took to run. We just did it, and for the most part, we did it well.
The years piled up in front of us and bullied us out of our natural tendencies with school, jobs, social expectations, and somewhere in the mix, we forgot how to run. Even worse, we lost the excitement for running.
Visit any library or bookstore and the volumes on form & how-to running are plentiful & myriad. It’s enough to make our heads swarm with the possibilities, but it’s also enough to discourage us from reconnecting with that instinctual urge to move fast & move well.
I’d like to be able to tell you to get out there and just run . . . keep doing it until you find that early sense of joy & freedom we all experienced, but with many of those chasmic years behind us, the divide is great, and unless we’ve done something about it, our habits keep us from getting any positive benefit from running . . . and enjoying the run, for far too many, is certainly out of the question.
There are several great running stores in & around Atlanta that offer a range of services to help us with our running, no matter how far removed from the innocence of speed & freedom of self-guided movement.
- Atlanta Track Club (not a store, but lots of good programs & coaching available)
- Big Peach Running Company (several locations, probably one VERY near to you)
- Phidippides Atlanta
Team in Training also offers coaching, motivation, technique & strategies to get you running while raising money for an excellent cause . . . definitely worth checking out.
As overwhelming as the book selections can be, I’ve luckily encountered & devoured a few that either help with motivating you back onto your feet, or instructional in the ways of good form & technique.
- Born to Run
- Chi Running
- Natural Born Heroes
- Power, Speed, Endurance
- Ready to Run
- Ultramarathon Man
- Unbreakable Runner
Lists like these are difficult to compile, because no matter how good your intentions, you just know that you’re leaving out some good resource or another. This may well be the case here, but at least we have a starting point for where & possibly even how to start, and that’s usually better than what we had before. But, compiling & composing the perfect list (if such a thing had a chance of ever existing) isn’t the goal here . . . the goal is to celebrate runners & running, and maybe even encourage you to give it a try . . . who knows, you could soon be planning an adventure trip to Boston for your own legendary running of the Boston Marathon!
Run well, run often,