The Runner’s Relationship With Time

AJW ponders runners and their relationship with time.

By on September 26, 2014 | Comments

AJWs TaproomPerhaps because I turned over the calendar to another year yesterday, time has been on my mind lately. In particular, I have been reflecting on the ways in which time impacts my life as a runner and as a person.

I have often said, as a school administrator, that if it wasn’t for issues of time, space, or money, there would actually be little need for me in the school. More often than not, during the course of my days as a school head, conflicts and disputes arise that almost always have something to do with time, space, or money. It’s just the nature of the beast. With issues of time, particularly, I find that emotions typically run hot and the stakes seem high. Therefore, I like to think that my experience with time as a runner provides guidance and direction.

Think about it, most of our goals as runners have something to do with time. We obsess over splits and time goals for races as well as ways in which we can most suitably use time to our advantage in designing training plans or fitting in runs amid busy lives. Time often forms the basis of our ability to balance running with the rest of our lives and often time is the currency with which we negotiate deals with training partners, friends, and spouses.

Additionally, in the Big Picture, success in running requires understanding of and experience with time that can only be honed over months and years. Whether it is patiently waiting to make a move during a big race and anxiously trying to balance the right blend of rest and exertion in the taper phase of a training program, the daily, weekly, and monthly ticking of the clock has an inexorable impact on our ability to thrive as runners.

Earlier this week, the Boston Athletic Association sent out registration acceptances to 30,000 runners. Many of those who were accepted were elated. However, over a thousand others were not. Why? Well, it turns out that based on the number of entrants the BAA had to lower the qualifiying standards at various age groups. Therefore, in some cases, individuals who thought they had run a qualifying time at a marathon learned the hard way that one minute and two seconds really does make a difference.

While running is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my life, it is also, at times, the most confounding. It is that fact, I think, that keeps me coming back day after day, year after year. Whether it tests my patience or challenges my will, it teaches me lessons just about every time I get out there. And, now that I am year older and possibly a year wiser, maybe my relationship with time will continue to evolve in ways that not only make me a better runner but a better person as well.

Bottoms Up!

AJW’s Bryon’s Beer of the Week

As autumn breaks on AJW the Northern Hemisphere (and AJW turns another year older), thoughts turn to the harvest. For those of us who like to quaff an adult beverage, that might also mean thinking about a good alcoholic cider. But we’re also thinking about AJW’s birthday, so what about a great beer… with awesome apple flavor?! Bring on Epic Brewing Company’s Sour Apple Saison. Available throughout this year, this sessionable saison with apple flavor has excellent balance: not too sour, not too sweet, not too apple-y. This isn’t a 95-plus beer, but I could enjoy one of these in any month of the year. So, happy birthday to AJW… and bottoms up for this bomber… I’ve got to sleep, The Bear 100 awaits in the morning.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • What kind of relationship do you have with time? In life? In running?
  • As you have aged, has your relationship with running also evolved? If so, in what ways?
  • Have you ever missed a goal by a matter of just a few seconds or minutes? Did that change the way you think about time?
Andy Jones-Wilkins

Andy Jones-Wilkins is an educator by day and has been the author of AJW’s Taproom at iRunFar for over 11 years. A veteran of over 190 ultramarathons, including 38 100-mile races, Andy has run some of the most well-known ultras in the United States. Of particular note are his 10 finishes at the Western States 100, which included 7 times finishing in the top 10. Andy lives with his wife, Shelly, and Josey, the dog, and is the proud parent of three sons, Carson, Logan, and Tully.