Running is like learning a new language

March 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

I mentioned before that I started running again. In fact on Wednesday this week my friend and I ran 9km around the Limmat river and the lake in Zurich. This has been my longest run since the 10k race in November. My legs felt unbelievably strong, I was never really out of breath and my pace was good. We finished the run feeling strong and positive.

A few hours before I had had a conversation over lunch with one of my colleagues and she casually mentioned having run a marathon at the week-end in Barcelona. I had no clue she was a runner, but darn it, she even did a triathlon! So I asked her very bluntly: how come you have the stamina to do all this? She looked at me as if she didn’t get the question so I went on: ‘Sometimes when I run I lose hope and faith so quickly! My body feels heavy and I’m wondering how on earth I am going to finish that half marathon. It seems like I will never be able to do that and I feel completely hopeless.’

What she said next left me speechless: ‘Well, running is like learning a new language. And a quite complex language, if we’re honest. You wouldn’t expect to be fluent in a new language in no time, right?’

I think this is the best metaphor for running I’ve ever come across. Just as it takes time, determination and lots and lots of practise to learn a new language, so it is with running – have a plan, try different things, but keep at it and be consistent. Don’t do too much at once, but learn this new language in incremental steps and it will all start to make sense soon.

I’m still in Zurich today but tonight as I go back home to Geneva you’d better believe I’m gonna lace up my shoes and go for a tempo run. 🙂






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