“Say not the struggle naught availeth!”


By Fred Deckert 


You’ve had those days when when getting out of the door for your run or walk or other exercise is a major effort. Those are the days when exercise is mainly mental, at least as far as the motivational part is concerned. The feet say, “I hurt,” the muscles say, “I’ve been abused and I don’t wanna go noplace!” That’s when the mind has to take over and say, “I know I need this run today, so get with the program, we’re going whether you other body parts like it or not!” Naturally you don’t force yourself when there’s injury present, but there are many days when you just don’t feel like it. Maybe it’s too warm, too humid, too windy, last night was just too much, or there’s really no excuse to put your finger on. But mentally you know it’s the right thing to do, so off you go.

This being the real world, you are not rewarded with sudden concessions and cooperation from the body but something more similar to passive resistance. But, you persevere and manage to gain your objective. That’s when the mental reward arrives, you get that good feeling that you’ve succeeded against the odds. Then you pray that tomorrow won’t be that difficult. Sometimes it is, but more often than not the body parts cooperate and your effort is not nearly as difficult the next day. A note of caution: If it is still very tough the next few days, it’s time to back off and make sure there’s no organic reason for your difficulties. It just might be that you are coming down with a cold or some type of illness, so don’t confuse an admirable sense of discipline with being too stubborn to recognize that all problems can’t be run through.

As you have already recognized, this little essay is not a “go with the flow” kind of exposition, but I like to think of it more in the vein of a Horatio Alger morality story where you are rewarded for struggling through adversity and you triumph in the end. Maybe a bit melodramatic, but so what, the mind needs all the help it can get, especially with the Prefontaine 5K and the Pine Run 20K are coming up!