IF NOT ‘RUN HAPPY!’, WHAT SHOULD SIGN-OFF BE? Recently I read a quote featured on an email from Motive Running. “Run often, run long, but never outrun your joy of running.” It was attributed to Julie Isphording, a former US Olympic marathoner. A very short Wikipedia item about Isphording indicates she competed in but did not finish the marathon event at the 1984 Olympics.
Although not perfectly, one could substitute a number of other activities for the words “run” and “running” in this motivational saying. Friends and family who do not or cannot run have reminded me of this possibility. Some protest that is was not they who outran joy, but running too long and often which forced its end.
For some former runners, injury is the underlying cause for not running. They respond to Isphording’s words with sadness, frustration, or anger. Those who have given up on all sport activity after injury are sad about the loss. Those who seek but have not yet successfully found a substitute activity they love as much as running, are frustrated. And those who have taken up and are challenged by other athletic efforts might be a bit angry, proclaiming they have moved on and don’t want to look back.
Those who don’t run because they don’t like it tend to be in the angry camp if they prefer other sports. Like tennis, swimming, walking, hiking, outdoor cycling, stand-up paddleboard, for example. Newer sport activities that now attract legions of enthusiastic followers include obstacle course and fitness exercise competition, and indoor cycling. It’s rather insulting to indicate that love of running is superior to enjoyment of other athletic pursuits, they indicate.
Earned Runs has for the past two years signed off with a farewell wish, “RUN HAPPY!” The phase is meant to encourage runners to feel the joy associated with being an amateur. To rejoice that professional career pressures don’t weigh on most of us. That each running session can celebrate freedom of movement on two legs.
Also over this time Earned Runs has encouraged runners to train safely to prevent injury and wisely to get the best performance from our bodies. Cross-training, by engaging in non-running exercise, has been promoted. Strength, balance, and flexibility/mobility work has been incorporated into running training plans. Rest and recovery strategies have been stressed.
Thus, when I saw the Isphording quote it hit me that “RUN HAPPY!” might not be the best sign-off sentiment, and that it might represent a kind of running-tunnel vision.
At some point in life, because of family or work circumstances, illness or injury, or locational challenge, running may not be possible. Instead of reacting with sadness, Earned Runs feels its followers should be prepared and enabled to embrace necessary change and find joy in a variety of exercise activities.
And those who don’t love to run shouldn’t be excluded from the Earned Runs farewell wish for happiness!
But what to sign-off with? “EXERCISE”, “MOVE”, or “RUN/WALK/ETC” HAPPY? Do you have a suggestion? In 2018 there will be a new sign-off. It will take more thought.
For now, “RUN HAPPY!”
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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