Time for a rant: About being bored on the track—speaking as one who has spent a total of twenty-three 24-hour days and nights circling various tracks and short, flat pieces of road. The topic comes up often.
Persons who say that they are bored, as distinguished from those who fear they may be if they tried it, are rare. They generally make the claim for one of a few reasons:
- They have no clue. They may even say it in an egotistical, bostful, even hostile way so as to imply a mental deficiency on the part of one who does enjoy the experience, thereby dismissing and implicitly putting themselves above the likes of Yiannis Kouros.
Such persons seem to need to be entertained. Their minds are blank. While the entertainment value of beautiful scenery is not to be denied, viewing it is still a “push” experience, whereas thinking is entirely interactive. Those who prefer to avoid it or don’t know how to do it will likely be bored.
Persons with blank minds rarely contemplate much that is important: they don’t think about problems; they don’t think about their spouses or families; they don’t think about art or music or beauty; they don’t seek to understand truth; they never give any thought to God.
To quote a source that a few people respect:
… whatever things are true, whatever things are of serious concern, whatever things are righteous, whatever things are chaste, whatever things are lovable, whatever things are well spoken of, whatever virtue there is and whatever praiseworthy thing there is, continue considering these things. — Phillipians 4:8
Time spent running provides plenty of opportunity to reflect on such matters; the thought process, sometimes called meditation, is educational and upbuilding. At the other end of the process, after a run, the person who does it is better off than he was before he started. He may even be smarter and wiser.
- They would rather be doing something else.
When I train for months, and sometimes a whole year, to participate in a track race, once I am there and in motion, I am doing exactly what I have chosen to do, and want to do more than anything else at that particular time.
How can a person possibly be bored when he is doing exactly what he wants to do? And if he doesn’t want to do it, given that running for hours at a time on a track is not exactly easy, then why not quit and go do something else? Better yet, don’t even show up so someone else who wants to do it can have his place.
- They aren’t running hard enough. Are you bored while running? Try kicking it up a notch or two. I guarantee you it will engage your attention.
Most ultrarunners learn when they actually try it, being generally brighter than the average cross section of society, that the actual experience of fixed time track running is not boring at all, but rewarding in ways a person cannot know until he has had the experience.