I have finally returned to something I stopped a while back and that is running. Well, fitness in general. I used to be huge into working out and sports, before it all fell apart. Short story, I fell into a deep depression, stopped working out, got fat, got depressed because I was fat, cycle of not working out continues blah blah blah no one cares, moving on.
Before it fell apart I was able to run marathon distance, lift heavy and was an all-round athlete. I was making pretty huge gains and accomplishments and kept grinding away. I never really enjoyed it though. It was always something I forced myself to do for some other reason, like training for a race or some other event.
I digress though. Not going to get into my new fitness program just yet, I have something coming for that. I actually think I have invented the best fitness program but I need to see more before I do that write up. One of the components of my new program is running, long distance. Not marathon length, but still, a good solid run. I think it will settle in to a 10km run eventually. Short version, I am working out again and find I really enjoy it.
That brings me to my main point, and that is that running is the single most human physical activity. Specifically long distance running. That is why I think long distance running is so important, because it is part of what makes us human. We have evolved for it, and our ability to endurance run stands unmatched in the animal kingdom.
We are animals. That is undeniable. What has set us apart from the rest of the animals on the planet is our brains. We are the nerds of this world. Other animals are faster, can swim longer, lift more, have better overall strength and in comparison we are fragile little geeks. With our big brains and language, but in order to defeat animals we had to rely on tools.
That is, except in one area. There is one area that we are the undisputed kings and that is distance running. No other animal can run as long as we can. This ability to just run for entire days is what helped us succeed in bringing down large game when we didn’t have sufficient tools. We literally ran our prey down, until it was exhausted and unable to continue.
Our unique ability lies partially in the fact that we are mostly hairless and that we sweat. We are able to dissipate heat better than most animals and certainly better than the game we chased down long ago. All it took was patience, just that steady plodding pace of an ultra marathoner, running after a gazelle or a deer or some other animal we wanted to eat.
Eventually the animal would burn out and we would fall upon it with stone knives, another meal secured and our place at the top of the food chain established. This ability to run long distance is what helped us survive and evolve and ultimately arrive at where we are today.
Our ability to sweat and keep moving kept us moving forward as a species. I also like to think that our minds play a big factor in this ability to run extreme distances. The ability to stay on a goal and plan long term would have been critical when it came to deciding to spend the day running after a single prey item.
I always tell people that the most important part of endurance training is your mind. That’s why I like to think that it is the perfect mix of mind and body. Running extreme distance is a uniquely human experience. One no other animal can replicate and one that ties our minds and bodies together.
I find that distance running is where I come up with ideas, am able to think through problems, and generally just let my mind go. Fighting the pain and tiredness, coming into contact with the body in a way that no other exercise has provided me.
Distance running is the most human activity you can do. I will always advocate for it, I think it is something really special. It seems so basic, but there is something magical about it.
That’s not to say other forms of working out aren’t important. I love weight lifting too, there is something special about being under three hundred pounds of iron and just moving it against gravity. That is a cool feeling too. But it is something that other apes can do with ease, you will never see a gorilla running a marathon though.
I have nothing else to really say other than give running a chance. I know a lot of people hate it but I think it is one of the core pieces of connecting to what makes us human and what makes us whole.
Yeah, kind of random, but just something I thought was kind of neat.