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February 29, 2016

Running Is Ritual

lauren fleshman

This is a true statement. For 20 years, the first thought that enters my mind when I wake up in the morning is going for a run. And like lightning to thunder, my next thought is coffee. But in that space between the two, with my body heavy on my wrinkled sheets, right before the blurry stack of books on my nightstand comes into focus, I think about the run.


It doesn’t matter if I can physically run or not. It shows up immediately, and subconsciously, like an itch, nerve endings standing at attention awaiting the command. It’s only in the moments that follow when I realize I’m too tired, or have an injury, or have an obligation to attend to first. But the best of all the days is when I can simply say yes.

Beautiful days, those are. A blizzard is but a fly to swat. Excuses are for other people. Perhaps it’s because you’re ticking the boxes day after day on your training program, your body is absorbing it like water in the desert, and nothing will stop you from drinking. Perhaps it's a subconscious swift kick in the butt after too many days of treating your body like crap. Sometimes, it just happens. Whatever the trigger, suddenly you are awake, and you must.

And you must, you really must. Because there will be days, weeks, months, maybe years when you can’t. And every day that you say yes is the making of a ritual that builds force like the tide, pushing further up the sand to smooth its wispy chaos into something solid you can build a castle on.



Margaret Spring | March 1, 2016 at 7:12am

so true

Love love love love! Taking no stride for granted!

Jason Weaver | March 1, 2016 at 7:52am

Coffee before and chocolate

Coffee before and chocolate after....the best!

Matt @ TheRunnerDad | March 1, 2016 at 8:15am

From the Heart

This post spoke to me and expressed my feelings on running in an amazing way. My favorite quote from this is "the best of all the days is when I can simply say yes." Those really are the best of days.

Andrea Olive | March 1, 2016 at 9:21am

ceremony of running

Anne Lamott says the actual process of writing is "like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony." Sometimes I feel this way about running. It is like I think I need to do speed work in a specific ritualistic way because it will make is faster - but what is actually making faster is not the speed work but the consistency and the process of showing up on Tuesday and setting the treadmill to level 7.2 and hammering out 8 x 800m with 60 seconds rest. I need to know I did it. I need to know it went according to plan. I need the ceremony of speed work (just as much as I need the actual speed work).

Kolbe | March 1, 2016 at 11:11am

Love this!

This is so true! I run for those who can't and knowing that one day I won't be able to. I want to do as much as I can while I'm able.

Roy | March 1, 2016 at 11:38am

Wow that was beautiful

Wow that was beautiful

rick | March 1, 2016 at 3:32pm

As one who has "smoothed the

As one who has "smoothed the sand" for nearly 45 years but is currently temporarily unable to run, I relate.

Guest | March 1, 2016 at 3:51pm

Love love love!

Love love love!

Annie | March 1, 2016 at 5:38pm


Lauren, I listen to you on the podcast running on om! Big fan. Thanks for inspiring female runners every day.

Hugh C | March 1, 2016 at 7:59pm


Your words about the daily ritual so many of us live are artfully true and beautiful. Thank you.

Christy Croley | March 2, 2016 at 5:28pm

Printing this off for my

Printing this off for my Inspiration Wall. So lovely!

Sarahlee | March 5, 2016 at 12:58pm

Beautifully said!!

Beautifully said!!

Bill | March 7, 2016 at 5:30am

Fabulous, oh so true words.

Fabulous, oh so true words.

Robin | May 26, 2016 at 3:06pm

Me too, Kolbe, me too.

Me too, Kolbe, me too.