Nothing makes me appreciate running as much as not running. Lately, as I train for a long distance triathlon, I’ve been doing a lot of swimming and biking, and while I enjoy both, doing so much of them has made me really appreciate a good long run.
Bike riding is fun, but gets complicated. In order to post some good mileage, you need some good equipment. You need a pretty decent bike, some clip-in shoes, clip-in pedals, numerous water bottle cages for proper hydration, some spandex, a helmet, an odometer, a flat kit, and a riding buddy. Riding partners are essential for long rides for safety reasons, but also to keep you company. And then there is the obvious soreness from riding in a saddle for hours at a time. To me, the best part of a bike ride, is the moment you clip out the shoes and get out of the saddle. While I love riding my bike, there is something constraining about being attached to a bike and that just isn’t quite natural to me.
Swimming is great because you don’t sweat but again there are equipment requirements. You need access to a lap pool that hopefully is not overly crowded. You need a swimsuit, goggles, a cap, and some anti-chlorine shampoo if you want maintain the health of your hair. Also no matter how hard you scrub, it takes awhile for the smell of chlorine to wash off of your skin. So while swimming can be a bit refreshing, it is also a bit high maintenance like bike riding.
With running, all you need is a decent pair of shoes and off you go. Sure, it’s nice to have a well-charged iPod, some good running shorts, and an amphipod but those aren’t necessities. This is why I love it so much, it’s a minimally involved sport that you can pretty much do anywhere and anytime. To me the simplicity of the sport is what makes it so great. Its an easy-access, sport that just kinda fits and I find a great feeling of freedom in running that I don’t get from other endurance sports.
With the hurricane last week and the disruption to my training plan that it caused, it made me appreciate the fact that I could still go for a run. No need to drive to a pool, or try to ride on the debris-strewn roads, I could just lace up my shoes and knock out a few miles with minimal effort. Once again reminding me how much I truly love running.
By Jen Macha