Hal Higdon recently tweeted, "Running is easy. Other than walking, it is the simplest sport. Sometimes we over think running and make it more complicated than need be."
I couldn't agree more. Running is easy. Nothing beats hitting the road or trail and getting lost in the motion of running. It's great to shut off the mind for a bit and simply enjoy the nature of running. Yet, it's hard for me to ignore that we (including myself) sometimes find ways to make running complicated.
"Should I give those Vibram Five Fingers a go?"
"I see some runners wearing compression sleeves, should I?"
"Should I stretch before I run?.. during?... after?... at all?"
"Will training with a heart rate monitor enhance my performance?"
These are just some of the questions I hear and read. Do I think they are valid? Certainly. Do they need to be in the forefront of our minds? In my opinion, not always. I think we sometimes forget that all running takes is putting one foot in front of the other. That's it. It's that simple foundation that makes running so beautiful. I found that the less I think about all the little intricacies of running, the more I enjoy it.
Yes, there is a time and place to run against a certain standard (e.g., race pace runs, speedwork, hill repeats, the looooooooong run, etc...). But, every now and again, leave the running watch at home. Run at whatever pace you desire. Let the roads and paths lead you. Enjoy running for the simple art it is.
Running isn't complicated... unless you make it complicated.