I’ve been pondering, as I run, the word “practice.” It’s not often associated with running unless you’ve run competitively in high school or college. I tend to use the word “training” in regards to race preparation, but I think practice may be a better term at times. Why? (I’m sure you’re not asking, but I’ll answer the question anyway) Because, as a doctor or lawyer practices, there are constantly new things to learn. When I was a music therapist, I would often consider opening a private practice. And this word, practice, implies that we don’t know everything yet. We have new, emerging research, techniques, skills, products, and ideas constantly being brought to us. These things can change the way we live and the way we subsequently practice. Our job as people, regardless of if you’re a runner or not, is to take practice seriously. We shouldn’t take for granted that we have everything figured out. Our bodies, our minds, our environment, and our neighbors constantly give us feedback and we have to decide what to do with it. That all takes practice, not simply plodding out miles. As we run, live, problem solve, think, eat, and do anything, we should be practicing.
Why take things so seriously? Why should we be so intentional? What if you’re not racing and you’re happy with your regimen? Because, hopefully, we’re not just running as a way to kill time. Hopefully, we’re running to become the best possible version of ourselves. Even at the most leisurely of paces, we are still moving forward, literally and figuratively. We are never stagnant, so why should our running or thinking or living practices be? We change everyday and practice allows our lives to reflect that. Before you think that I’m just a pious fun-hater, I most definitely believe life can and should be enjoyable as much as possible and practice should not distract from that. After all, sometimes we need to practice having fun!
Sometimes, it’s easier than others to realize this need for practice. I’m on campus for an intensive, week-long class, and I’m having to practice a lot. I’m having to relearn and unlearn. I’m forced to see my own limits as they stand now and find my way past them. That takes practice. And so does everything else. So, one of my challenges this week is to see one thing you do today as practice, whether it’s running, cooking, interacting with someone, or even just enjoying a drink of water.
What is one thing you have found yourself practicing or maybe should practice?