Don’t Train, Listen

I’ve trained with heart rate monitors for most of my adult life.

A personal trainer once told me that people become too dependent on their monitors, that they limit themselves by the numbers on the wrist band.  “Contrary to popular opinion, monitors don’t increase performance, they limit it,” he told me.

I never listened.

A few months ago, I lost my monitor’s transmitter.  That kind of thing never happens.  I don’t lose gizmos that cost me a good chunk of change.  Since this heart rate monitor isn’t old, I couldn’t  justify purchasing another.

“Wait and see if it shows up,” I decided.

So for the past months, I’ve trained without a monitor.  Getting back into my body.  Enjoying the process.

Inadvertently liberated from numbers on a wristband.

In Scott Jurek’s “Eat and Run,” Jurek discusses about how the Taramuhara, the world’s fastest runners, train.  They eat simply and then they run, because that’s what they do, it’s their lifestyle.

No conceptualization.  No arbitrary boundaries.  No goals.  No heart rate monitors.  No prepackaged processed foods passing for nutrition with x grams of protein, x grams of carbs.  Just the body nourished on simple, whole foods, the running spirit unleashed, and they are the fastest runners in the world.

Except for those elite runners who learn to run like the Taramuhara, runners like Scott Jurek.  Because for Jurek, running isn’t a race of numbers, running is a vehicle of self-discovery, a catalyst for expanding awareness, connecting the individual to the universal, losing the self in the moment, when one pushes one’s limits to hit the flow.

Running is an art for the best runners.

I will never be an elite runner, my times are atrocious and will probably never be exemplary, and I can live with that.  What’s more important is that I am learning to listen more deeply, and taking that awareness to the page.

Writing’s not a word count or a sold manuscript, it’s a vehicle of self-discovery, pushing myself into those moments when I lose myself into something greater than I previously imagined, hitting the sweet spot of flow found in work’s abandon.


2 Replies to “Don’t Train, Listen”

  1. I can certainly agree with your last paragraph. And, like running, the challenge of writing every day is critical to meet if we are ever going to reliably create good work. It’s true for poets, novelists, memoirists, dramatists–all kinds of writers. Like musicians, it’s so important to maintain that fine muscle control and endurance.

    Good luck in your writing!

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