We live in a busy and deranged time, there is no doubt. A tried and proven means of combating stress and disillusionment is a quick pound of the pavement. It need not matter where one live, what matters is they live, and in doing so will accrue much angst, anxiety, anger, and frustration in the process.
Your environment or lack of options need not deter your efforts; whether serene and natural, or dilapidated concrete and noxious smelling, all urban scapes offer unique value as you come to realize that it does not matter where your run takes place.
Take for instance my particular scene. It is in the east end, surrounded by medium to low income residential, close to an industrial water front region, and possesses no discernible schematic regarding its urban design. The place just happened, but serves the run well. The runs really allow one to thoroughly discover their surroundings , all those nooks and crannies, that the slow pace of walking or gloss of driving, have detached you from. Run right in the middle of the street and get a real feel for what is going on.
Don’t let stride or form bother you. We have supposedly evolved in to this bipedal form: to run is to let your deeply embedded nature come alive. Let your evolutionary past reign free as you gallop through and on the terraces, boulevards, crescents, parks, trails, paths, and all the other various civil incursions.
Do it late at night or excruciatingly early in the morning.
This is the best time to do anything. Personally, I vomit upon exercising early on in the day, so I leave a great majority of my strenuous activity to the post meridian hours. Running at night allows you to witness how the preceding day has impacted the region. Much can change within a day, and these alterations may be revealed to you during your run: is their carnage where there was once peace, did a neighbor take the initiative to clean up that litter, is that new spray paint, who now lives in that alley, has that thicket of trees lost foliage or gained it, is that a new light, new apartment, new project, new family, new road? There is an infinite number of minute and substantial improvements and degradations occurring everywhere at every moment in time within your city and others like it, and running is one way to become apprised of this constantly unraveling ticker of change.
If, say, you begin your run at dawn, right at the crack of it, you will see an aspect of your city that many do not. Some things are waking up at this time, others are just going to bed. The dank and hydrating mist of the moon is making its move back to the ether, and greenery searches for the long vacant rays. Note that you will encounter your communities hardcore and very dedicated running crowd at this time, but they will not be running the exact route in which you are. They like to avoid the gnarly corridors: the piss-stained streets and graffiti laden brick, but these aspects will fuel you, they will give you something to run from and towards. Depending on length you will encounter the mechanical re-orientation and re-start of society, as the milkman and bread delivery service execute their daily functions. You’ll see it all come alive, as it does every day. The giant mechanism wound taut for another 24 hour period. But you are here to run – to purge your psyche of those dream time remnants. Your stomach is empty or else you would vomit, and this running, if it is done right, will make all the aspects of the succeeding day seem easy.
One need not buy specialized gear to run outside, and you probably have much of what you need already. Many people living in this age are exceptionally shallow, possess low self-esteems, and try to mitigate their self-hatred by adorning excessive and specialized gear for their various hobbies. Damn near invariably these people come out in the morning as they follow some CEO adage that is meant to set them up for life success, but one need not fear because your focus is pure and originates from a deep yearning within. Cotton shorts and a stained t-shirt will do the job. If you get cold or uncomfortable the simplest solution is to run at an accelerated pace until warmth occurs or care subsides. Feet: admittedly are an important thing to protect and care for, so test out what you have and if discomfort pursues invest in something suitable. Run these shoes in to depletion. Your running shoes are what symbolizes you as a runner, but the correlation is of an inverse relation. The dirtier they are the cleaner you are in the process of becoming; their tight, your dirty; and as their sole depreciates yours’ will reanimate and conquer anew.
Do run during inclement weather. This approach has several added benefits: i) your chosen setting will be less populated with others ii) integrating with your ecology in all its forms helps mold a fully-formed perspective and, iii) it is a refreshing experience. You realize, that weather, in its severest forms is nothing to fear. You learn to bend with the gusts and survive.
Forego the watches, pacing, GPS, map tracking, and overall neurosis when it comes to the venture. It should be pre-determined what you are working towards: marathon, anaerobic conditioning, or nothing in particular, and allow your gait to assimilate accordingly. We have the capacity to gauge all of these things as long as intention is known, or at least prior to heavy handed technological influence we did, and maybe you will discover that you still do.
One will find, like with most things, that it takes some time for running to become enjoyable. The first 10-15 minutes, or longer, of an individual run and the first few weeks of your developing habit, may be exceedingly unpleasant. One feels robotic in their movements, the joints- medieval constructions ready for the scrap heap, the mind scurrying in many different directions, enumerating the myriad tasks that you have not fulfilled at days’ end, and the incremental pace at which you are treading distance will sublimate your frustration. With persistence, a confident stride, and a cessation of thought, breakthrough will eventually be made, and one enters a meditative state of thoughtless pace. Only rubber hitting your chosen surface, mechanical in nature, like the smooth piston of a pneumatic system never erring, never vacating its post and duty, with assurance progress is made. In this mindset, real distance can be covered, real pace can be achieved.