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Natural Law: Overcoming Inertia

Inertia -  An object remains at rest or in uniform motion in the same straight line unless acted upon by some external force. 

It is a powerful force.   You can't work against it - take it from some of the smartest guysLaw_of_nature  that ever live - Newton.  So powerful he named it the First Law of Motion.   

So it is only fitting that Newton's law would contribute to a Natural Law of Running.  Especially this time of year when inertia is a common topic among us runners and bloggers.   It starts so innocently.  One missed run to get in some shopping.  Then another because of the weather.  Then another one passes due to the flu or cold.  And then it is its a family gathering.  Before you know it you are staring down the barrel of one or two weeks without a step of a run.  You start to wonder if you will know how to run if you ever find time.    A few days after these thoughts you realize that the break is ok.  Maybe a few more days of hanging out in your baggy sweats with the holiday candy will be just fine.  You don't really feel like heading out there in the cold or getting up extra early to squeeze in a run you know you need.   BANG!  The natural law of inertia has inserted itself.  Forward momentum has been replaced by an object now at rest.

Natural Law:  The only cure for a long break in running is just getting back out there.

Getting going again can be tough.  You beat yourself up for the break, you remember only the hardest parts of the runs that you should be doing, and there are so many other things that seem important.   But, you know running is important - you just need a little nudge to get going again.  A bit of a push.   Here is a sampling of some "external forces" in case you are feeling of the effects of this law - (aka - a kick in the pants):

1.  Do anything for 10 minutes.   Walk, run, jog, hike, meander, skip...it really doesn't matter - just do something for 10 minutes.   97% of the time you will keep going.  For the 3% of the time you don't - don't worry - tomorrow will be another day.   I personally beckoned this technique today after dreading time on the treadmill.  My 10 minute walk turned into a 40 minute run.

2.  Put on your skinny clothes.  There is nothing more motivating to getting back at it and regaining you running body than being constricted by clothes that should fit.   

3.  Pick a new trail, new race, or new adventure.  Whether it is for that day or you set you sites on a new race for 2008 - pick one that is coming up in the next 8-12 weeks so you feel the need to get out there and go.   

4.  Think about how tough you are.   Especially if you live in the colder and rainy climates, get out there and brave the elements and think about the deposit you are making in your toughman bank, as a recent post on Cool Running suggests.    This will be appreciated later in the year in your races or as the runs getting longer, harder, or faster.

5.  Borrow some inspiration from other runners.  Maybe it is some of the runners you read about this year, like Brad Alsop who ran 131 marathons in as many days, or Paul Staso as he prepares to run across Montana, or Brad Niess who ran across Iowa in 2007 and is planning on doing it again in 2008.    Or maybe it is someone you know like Ovens2Betsy or Katie who have stayed true to their Disney Marathon training schedule and have been putting in their 20+ milers in the middle of this festive season.

6.  Or do it to be a role model - for your kids, your neighbors, friends or family.   Inspire others.  There is nothing quite as motivating as motivating others.   If you haven't seen this video clip  on Runners World of the 13 year old girl that ran the JFK 50 miler with her mom.  She was inspired to run by her mom.  I guarantee it will give you a spark of inspiration as well. Be her today - show others it's not that hard.

Now - just go!

And remember the other golden natural law of running. The first mile always sucks is hard.

When you get back from your run, let me know what force got you going today.

Photo of board by Fallacy 


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Angela Maiers

Thanks Guys! I needed a kick in the pants. I have been using the cold weather as a way to make excuses. I am ready to go and start 2008 with a GREAT run! Happy New Year to you both!


Great post, Amy. My excuses have piled up higher than the @#$% on the politicians' campaign ads.

And your comments are a powerful reminder that getting out the door is nearly all in our heads and within our control.



Thanks for the kick in the butt! I just wrote on my own blog about how I just can't get out there and get the runs in like I want. Glad to hear I'm not alone!

Art Dinkin

Thanks Amy! I needed to read this.

Remember me?? :)


Oh my, that post had me bawling. What an inspiration. Wouldn't you love to hear your thirteen year old say, "I just have a special bond with my mom." Got to be every parents dream.

Thanks for the great post!


Thanks for posting the video clip. In a word, WOW....

Great post.

Happy New Year!

Bill Carter

Wonderful post. I will honestly admit that one of my greatest fears is that if I ever stopped running, even for a few days, I might never run again... I guess it is just better not to test that theory.

Great video and very inspirational.

Hope you have a Happy New Year and best of luck in '08!


Ok Amy, you win. I am emailing my running group and seeing if they want to get together this weekend for my FIRST run post-marathon.

cheap tiffany

This necklace is beautiful! It is a great deal. Purchased as Christmas present for very picky 14 yr old daughter. She loves it!!!

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