Once upon a time, a girl started running. She was nursing a broken heart, and she needed to do something hard and rewarding. (Is easy ever rewarding? Hmmm, I wonder.) She stepped out of her back door and ran until she estimated she had gone as far as she could go . . . and still make it home. Later she discovered she had run just a little over a mile on that day.
Over the next three years she ran, sometimes with consistency — three or four days a week — sometimes with month-long gaps in between, and, during a particularly satisfying stretch, 5-6 days a week, training for two marathons in one year.
A pulmonary embolism in year six (and a scary doctor) slowed down her progress, and a demanding job made it easy to spend several months each year not running.
But still . . . every time she saw a runner on the road, she looked longingly. She remembered the joy of listening to footfalls landing, one after another, for miles and miles and miles. She remembered the rhythm of breath and beats and thoughts.
Fourteen years into her running life (and eight years after the pulmonary embolism), she found her way back to the long run. She did her first half-marathon. “This is it,” she thought. “I have reaffirmed my love, and now surely I’ll be faithful.”
Alas, October always brought more reasons to rest than reasons to move. Her faithfulness became failure to persist year after year.
Year 15 of her running journey arrived with an unexpected remedy: run every day. This idea went against every training plan she’d ever seen. Runners need rest, right? Running daily could be dangerous. “But what if?” she thought. “What if all I need is complete and utter commitment to the run?” And as she mulled over this possibility, it gave her joy and energy. She would never have to worry about not running enough days in a given week because she would run every day, every week. She would never say “will I run today?” She would only say “when will I run today?”
And four years later, she has discovered the miraculous secret: running daily is easier than not running daily — at least it is for runners of a particular mindset and demeanor, and I am one of those runners.