Σάββατο, 31 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

Why do I run?

Running is an activity which seems, for the majority of people, a very unpleasant thing to do. Involving a lot of sweating, some physical discomfort with the heart beating more intensely, risk of injury for the joints and muscles, and of course all of these things are happening during our free time, at least for 99,9% of us runners!

Running is primarily about covering distances, with your own physical ability. Secondarily, speed may get in the way, how fast one can cover a given distance. But first comes always the fact that the runner must be able to cover the distance. Two elements are highlighted here: covering the distance and doing so only by using your body.

In sports, people tend to reveal their real character because of the simplicity of the situation. The connection between effort invested and the result returned is very straightforward and linear. No tricks can be applied and no shortcuts exist to be taken. Your way of thinking, your physical capability will get you to the destination. Even when doing a casual run, the runner is able to feel his body and observe his performance. And this activity requires, after a few minutes in it, the full attention of the participant. No distractions are allowed. It is absorbing our body and mind.

So running is a "back to basics" activity. Regular running will change ones life in many aspects. A morning run will make you feel fully charged for the day ahead, an evening run will relieve most of the stress. Eating will become more pleasant, digestion will be easier, and above all, at night when time comes to go to sleep, your body will be needing it. There is a notable side effect involving our hormones and the feeling of happiness we get out of most of our runs. Also it is a character shaping activity by testing our determination, discipline and capability to achieve our goals by overcoming some simple physical difficulties. Long distance running (whatever "long" is for each one of us) will test our mind and character against some very primitive and elemental instincts, because we will experience feelings of discomfort, exhaustion, maybe pain, hunger, thirst. While running each one will address the emotions and difficulties according to his character and mentality. And there are no external factors to assist you.



About myself: I run because while on the move I have this unique feeling that I can hear my self without any obstructions! I see my thoughts and emotions. I feel the earth rolling under my feet and I have this unique sense of flow. Over time, I realized that every run (especially long distance ones) includes a life of its' own, with a great deal of self awareness, but also realization of the characters of those running next to me. There is no better way to get to know people. Including myself!

Why do you run?

Happy New Year to everyone! May this year be the one you run the most you have ever run.

Δευτέρα, 12 Δεκεμβρίου 2011

A good sports coach is...

One who:

  • Evaluate your level before preparing a plan 
  • Talk about your goals and plans 
  • Is following your progress regularly
  • Is present at some of your training sessions (even though not necesseraly every time!) 
  • Is able to listen to your feeling perception of the training sessions and not only the hard data 
  • Has the technical background for the sport 
  • Is able to motivate you emotionally in order to achieve your goals 
  • Is resourceful and ready to try new things 
  • Is following the news and technology of the sport
  • Makes performance predictions and they prove to be accurate
  • Who explains the details of every session and the role of it in the plan
  • Promotes socializing between his athletes
Keep these criteria in mind next time you choose a coach! Athletes should also be ready to interact with their coach, share feelings, perceptions and information regarding the progress of every session. Share experiences and suggest small improvements or modifications to the plan.

Failure in any of the above increases the possibility of physical injury, emotional instability, loss of motivation and low performance as a result.

Athletes resolving to coaching services, must have trust in their coaches, but not faith! Trust has to be earned and verified on a regular base, according to the results. Discipline is also important but should not be blind. Nobody should know your body better than yourself.

This a short note, but I think a very valuable one. I see many appearing as coaches these days, but very few deserve this title! A good coach promotes the sport, the culture and the performance of the athlete. Choose wisely!