I’ve been a long distance runner ever since I first learned about Cross Country in high school. I enjoy a long run in what can only be described as a spiritual way. It’s my chance to be alone with the cosmos. Over the years, I’ve worked with other people to help them reach the point in running where they can experience the spiritual element of the sport. It’s what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi called Flow.
Three years ago, I became the first Cross Country coach of the Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School. Nothing I did in those three years could inspire my kids to want to run. I finally gave up after our third disappointing season and decided that I’m just not as good at coaching as I thought I was. Then I decided to get better.
I always complained about coaches who just sent kids out to run and hoped that by running more, they’d get better. One of the reasons they do this is that it works a good deal of the time. The single best determinant of a runner’s success is the number of runs he puts in. I tried to teach running like other sports: It has a play book but there’s only one play in it. When people comment on the variety of running styles in the field, I point out that the kids in front don’t have that variety, and on the national stage, the variety is even less. My point is that there is a best way to run. I have been trying to figure it out thru trial-and-error for thirty-some years.
Well I found a resource that supports my belief. It also pointed out where my preferred form is still a bit off from the ideal. So now I’m re-training myself to run. Sounds silly doesn’t it. I’m already better. Next, I need to find a team to coach.