Running column: WALK, do not RUN

Strange title for the opening article for our June 19 post-COVID 10K/5K Race? Not so. It is a reality check. Running is a sport that you must love to do. And few sports are tougher to love than running. People who have not run since under duress in grade school are unlikely candidates to brave six miles in June heat and humidity.  Walking, on the other extreme, is God-granted ability that we have from age 1 to 100.  Using this abundant talent is the means to do far more than you might imagine.  That is the objective in these articles.  Walking can lead you on a path to an entirely new life. I hope this series of articles will do just that. Moving is far better than not moving, and walking is a great start. The expression “drive for show and putt for dough” applies. Run for glory but walk for all the same health benefits and none of the injury risks. So, why do we find it so hard to do things that we ought to do?  I think I know.  

I emerge from COVID with an appreciation of what could have been lost. Instead, business is in place, the family safe and a huge debt is owed for the town’s vaccination program. This morning, I did the following:

• Radically changed my diet to eliminate meat and cut down the calorie intake to 1,000 per day.

• Limited our investment strategy to only ESG-certified stocks and to make a sizable commitment to charities and religious groups. 

• Ran the 5K Shelter Island race course in under 30 minutes.

• Meticulously separated the dozen plastic variations required for recycling at the dump.

Only one of those statements is true. 

The rest are “ought” statements — things I ought to do — but where I found them too easy to push off to tomorrow. Another ought example is moving from no exercise to even a modest amount. Why is it so hard? Simple, we are driven by love and rewards. If you love something, you get better at it and progress reinforces your willingness to work harder to perfect the original talent. Every tennis, golf or skiing top player showed the talent as a child, the talent was recognized and encouraged, and THEN they worked continuously to improve. If you want to bring exercise into your life, you must find a way to LOVE it. Not easy, but worth the effort. Please read on next week.  

If you want to read more about running, check Cliff Clark’s brilliant Reporter articles on the progress of Kal Lewis, University of Iowa runner and Shelter Island running prodigy. Cliff’s writing brings us a treat as he brings his own expertise to the drama of racing at world class level.