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Rediscovering Running: A Natural Exercise Turned Discipline

Published on June 3 by Anna

Running is a fundamental human movement, as instinctive as breathing, and as natural as walking. This is a fact that Hal Higdon, a renowned running coach, emphasizes in his recent social media post, 'TIP OF THE DAY: Running is basic. People need not be taught to run. Children learn to run almost as soon as they learn to walk. But as they age, running becomes a discipline rather than a natural form of exercise. As adults, sometimes we need to be retaught. #RunWithHal'.

This insightful post from Higdon, a respected figure in the running community, serves as a reminder of our intrinsic connection with running and how, as we grow older, this innate ability can be overshadowed by the rigidity of training regimes and the demands of adult life.

For children, running is an instinctive and joyful expression of freedom. It is a spontaneous activity, often triggered by the pure excitement of being alive. But as we grow older, this primal urge to run freely often gives way to more structured forms of exercise. We trade the playground for the gym, the open field for the treadmill, and the joy of running for the discipline of a workout routine.

Higdon's post suggests that this transition from instinctive running to disciplined exercise can sometimes rob us of the essential benefits that running offers. As adults, we tend to approach running from a performance-oriented perspective, focusing on metrics like speed, distance, and calories burned. This can lead to a disconnection from the inherent joy and health benefits that running can provide.

Running, as Higdon points out, is a basic human function that needs no formal instruction. It is an exercise form that engages multiple muscle groups, enhances cardiovascular health, and can improve mental wellbeing. It is an activity that can be undertaken at any age, and its benefits extend beyond the physical. Running can also be a form of meditation, a time for self-reflection, and a way to connect with nature.

However, as we age and our lives become more complex, running can transform into a discipline that requires motivation, planning, and often, relearning. This relearning process, as Higdon suggests, is not about reinventing the wheel, but about reconnecting with our inherent ability to run, and rediscovering the joy and benefits it can bring.

Higdon's post, therefore, serves as a reminder to adults that running need not be a chore or a rigidly structured activity. Instead, it can be a liberating, joyful, and beneficial exercise that we should embrace, just as we did in our childhood. It's about time we dust off our running shoes, let go of our inhibitions, and #RunWithHal.