Monday, June 23, 2014

Being a Tarzan

Since I read Born to Run over two years ago, I have been into this idea of "Being a Tarzan". I often talk to Josh about being a Tarzan and I decided it's time to share this idea with anyone who hasn't read the book so I went searching for the passage...

The Tarahumara aren't great runners... they're great athletes, and those two things are very different. Runners are assembly-line workers; they become good at one thing -- moving straight ahead at a steady speed -- and repeat that motion until overuse fritzes out the machinery. Athletes are Tarzans. Tarzan swims and wrestles and jumps and swings on vines. He's strong and explosive. You never know what Tarzan will do next, which is why he never gets hurt. 

Your body needs to be shocked to become resilient. Follow the same daily routine and your musculo-skeletal system quickly figures out how to adapt and go on autopilot. But surprise it with challenges -- leap over a creek, commando-crawl under a log, sprint till your lungs are bursting -- and scores of nerves and ancillary muscles are suddenly electrified into action.

In the wake of my disappointing second marathon, I am especially into this passage. I love running but I love so many other things. Marathon training has it's awesomess - it can give you such highs and make you feel accomplished like few other things can. But it can also make you feel like that assembly line worker and make you crave new and different challenges.

I'm not trying to say that runners are assembly line workers. I know most runners cross-train and know the importance of stimulating different muscle groups. But if you have one sport and you look at all other workouts as an obligation you must fulfill, I encourage you to look at things differently.

Think of yourself as a Tarzan and you might start to enjoy those other workouts. Every time you lift weights, do a pushup or a burpee, or practice yoga, think about how resilient your body could become and how many nerves and muscles you may electrify into action.

I'm on a mission to be strong and explosive - for my body to never know what it will do next. I'm still looking for those vines to swing on though...

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