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Monday, March 14, 2011

Is there anything enjoyable about training for a marathon?


What’s the best part of running?

Yeah, I know… that’s a loaded question. I bet most people, upon reading that will answer the same way I did for so many years: nothing – or perhaps you like the hours of boredom spent putting one foot in front of the other.

I’m kidding of course. I actually really enjoy running these days. Admittedly, I don’t think I ever thought I would write that sentence. However, over the last few months while training for a marathon, I have found there is an odd peace that comes with the rhythm of stepping along down the road with only you and your thoughts to keep you occupied. In this same way, one of the best parts of having this opportunity to train has been listening to the radio.

I’m not talking about # # . # FM or some other music station; I’m talking about radio programs that are specifically produced for the listener’s education and/or entertainment.

Now, I know what you are thinking – the concept of listening to those kinds of radio programs went out of style somewhere around the age of the hippies – probably about the same time TV was developed. I’ll concede that point, yet over this time period I have found there are a few things you just can’t get from TV that oddly enough, these radio programs provide.

Podcasts are where it’s at. These things are so available these days, you can literally download a piece on nearly anything you can imagine. I have listened to a 2 minute parody on Charlie Sheen’s latest antics to 20 minutes on the folly of the BCS to 60 minutes on why cats are such intriguing animals.

Part of the beauty – there are no commercials, it is just listening and thinking from start to finish.

This kind of sheds light on one of the other things that annoys me about TV – you have to sit and watch, w/out the availability to do much else. Sure, people are walking on treadmills at the gym watching TV these days, but you have to be inside a gym and walking on a treadmill.

Lame-oh.

With the radio/mp3 player, it is so easily portable. You can accomplish so much while learning something – you can run outside or do laundry inside, or really whatever it is you do.

However, the most enjoyable aspect of this medium of information versus TV has been the engaging nature of the radio. It’s the same reason that we get so much more out of “reading a book over merely watching the movie.”

I know in my mind that I am not really having a 2-person conversation while listening to these podcasts, but the nature of not being able to see the presenter – only listen – invites one to use their imagination to construct that scenario in your mind.

I can’t really remember that last time I left the couch after watching something on TV where I actually felt like that really had an impact on me – it seems that since with TV you aren’t required to use your imagination at all, you just don’t remember things nearly as well. I feel like I can remember nearly everything I have listened to over this training period, and with minimal effort.

I no longer dread the 3+ hour long runs which are required during the training regimen that I dreaded before I started this program. Crazily, they are almost enjoyable now…

Relax, I said almost.

Thanks for reading J

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