Run no. 44 – Too busy not to run


Distance: 4.53 miles   Time: 41’51”   (PB 38’ 28”)

When our schedule is tight, running is often the thing we are tempted to drop out of our day. Surely that’s sensible right? I mean running is more or less a self-indulgent luxury; taking an hour to go off and do something completely unproductive. Shouldn’t this be the first thing to go?

Actually I am less and less sure that this is the case.

It used to be that the working day was naturally limited, either by daylight, by the availability of resources, by physical exhaustion, etc. However in our technologically advanced, information age, this is no longer the case.

Also the amount of work we could theoretically do on many of our given tasks has now become infinite.

To give a personal example; I do research from time to time. It used to be the case that a person had a finite set of resource material – their own library, a university library, a national library etc. But now as more and more material becomes available online, the available resources are practically limitless. Which means that I could theoretically do research on a single subject for the rest of my life and never achieve an exhaustive grasp of it. There would always be another book on the subject I could read, another academic paper, another poem etc.

So in the information age our work is now both unceasing and infinite.

It flow in to our ‘In-Trays’ at an ever-increasing rate and many of the tasks we are given could, in theory, occupy us for a lifetime.

If you do more work, you will only be rewarded with more work to do. It is a vicious spiral, which spins ever more quickly.

So, if I’m busy, then perhaps taking an hour to go running is the last thing I should drop. Perhaps it is exactly when I am really busy, that I most need to go running?

St François de SALES wrote this advice to his monks:

Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy.

Then a full hour is needed.

Which expresses a deep, and counter-intuitive truth; it is the times of peak busyness that we most need to find the energy, focus, inspiration that we get from spiritual activity; the divine strength that comes to us when we turn away from a preoccupation with our little selves and our little lives, and open ourselves up to God and to the real meaning of our existence; a relationship with Him.

Too busy to run – you’re too busy not to run.