Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Art of Running

I enjoyed a short run today: just a couple of kilometres.  I also ran yesterday - so two days in a row, which is a nice change.

But a change from what?  The day before, I ran to the gym and back - twice today's distance.  The day before I ran to the park, did sprints, and jogged home.

In short, almost every run is different.  

Yet I do have a routine.  It isn't the route, the speed, the time I run, or the music (which I don't listen to).

What's routine is the discipline: to close the computer, get up from the desk, change into my jogging clothes, and hit the dry, crackly grass.  

And it has similar results: muscle hypertrophy, cardiovascular health, and a quiet contentment.

In this, running is like a good artwork.  

Of course it's not really an art: it doesn't express emotion, or coalesce experience into an arresting whole.  It has little aesthetic value.  It's a craft: what the Greeks called techne.

But the analogy stands.  Like all fine art, it has diversity: different details, which keep me interested and alert.  Yet it also has unity: forms that endure, despite the details; principles I grasp, internalise and apply. 

Like art, jogging is also something I can enjoy alone, in my own time.  And yet: sharing its beauty is the most natural thing in the world.


James said...

I like to think that running is part of living a flourishing life. The contrast of diversity and unity combines in a sort of complexity that one might call "Beauty". Thanks for the inspiration.

Damon said...

Yes, I think running - like many kinds of exercise - are beautiful, and contribute to flourishing.

Apparently my neighbour often runs 16 kilometres (10 miles). Now that's inspiring!

Damon said...

Do note my cunning grammatical Judo in that first sentence.

Emma Kirsopp said...

Unrelated to this post.
Something new and beautiful from Neil Gaiman I thought you might be interested in.


Damon said...

Not bad at all.

He clearly knows all the longings and fears we have for our little girls.

Interesting voice, I must add.

Thanks, Emma.

SeriousRunning said...

I think running turns my chiseled body into art.

Seriously though, I've always known there was something artistic about running but never thought of the "act of running" as actually being art. I imagine if you watched different runners go by you could find the art in them. Each runner is different, experiencing different emotions without any concern for the expressions they are presenting viewers. It's natural and pure. Viewers can also deduce some universal aspects of runners too like people who push themselves to accomplish goals or people who constantly try to be a better balanced.

Like art, every runner is different but all have a universal underlying value.

Damon said...

Thank you, Serious Running.

It's good to see someone about the craft.

As an amateur, I bow to your mastery of the art!