When is Running Not Just Running?

I got to know a guy named Laird Malamed recently. He’s a regular working stiff, just like the rest of us, and it just so happens that he loves to run. Not every day, but very far, in fact marathon distances and beyond. In his words, it’s a “crazy mid-life crisis running addiction.” His goal? “The goofy quest to hit all 50 states before I turn 50.” He’s up to 33 states at last count.

On the Run

So what’s so special about a regular guy who runs a lot? Although one might consider this a form of extremism, it’s really not. There’s kind of a tantric aura in his approach to running. He’s not out to win every race, gain medals or be the best in his age group. His vibe is more deeply rooted and ceremonial– he wants to be the best man he can be. In all ways. The running ritual fits into this larger philosophy of life. And by taking this path, Laird has found one of the secrets to living long and healthy: invest regularly in your most valuable asset. You.

The Long Run

Here are some jewels of wisdom that I garnered from his blog about running:

  • Any run is amazing, even to the end of the block.
  • Every step is a step in the right direction.
  • Change shoes often.
  • Clear your head when you run. Find meaning in each run.
  • Choose courses based on scenery.
  • Have real, achievable goals. Also have “stretch” goals.
  • Determination and heart are as important as physical skill.
  • Be sure to smell the roses and catch the views.
  • Pace yourself and respect the path.
  • Train in a sine wave pattern, not a square wave.
  • Learn to like hills.
  • Know and stay within your capabilities.
  • Have a core desire for newness, discovery, surprise or revelation.
  • Run for those who cannot run. Always support a charity.

Not a bad way to run a life in addition to just plain running, eh? In the words of poet Maya Angelou: “Nothing will work unless you do.”