The superpower of runners

Few things like sports give you a feeling of power and control. Few things like running give you a sense of being in control of your life. The curious thing is that you often realize this after a workout, that is, when your muscles are most sore and bending down to pick up something you dropped on the floor makes you feel at least 40 years older.

I remember the first time I saw a strong triathlete walking “at rest”; I was amazed at the gait he had: a little hunched, agile but somewhat slow. I guess he felt what we all feel after running: it’s kind of like inside all your muscles have turned up the volume. In truth they are just rebuilding themselves: in the fibers micro-injured by exertion, in disposing of lactic acid, in returning to the resting state. For a few hours or sometimes-at least after the deadliest long runs or after a race-for a whole day we feel every cell in our muscles. Shouting, in its own way.


If you think about it, “feeling” your body is not normal. You usually feel it when some part is aching but otherwise you can live whole days without thinking about your feet, your legs, your back. They are there, they work, and so you don’t pay attention to them. It’s a bit like being in front of a control panel: the red lights coming on only if some component manifests criticality, otherwise it’s all off, all quiet.
After a training session there are several red lights flashing.

This superpower is the state induced by training, and it is not just something physical: running, as we have often written about and as science has explained countless times, has very positive effects on your mind as well. It improves mood, combats negative thoughts, increases memory and brain plasticity, and accentuates creativity.

This superpower is thus a mixture of physical and mental well-being that has very important consequences in both the short and long term.
How do you perceive it in the first place? First in the sense of gratification that radiates from your mind: you have completed a very important task by intelligently committing your time. You feel the benefits in your changing body, which is toned, supple, and strong (no matter how soon afterwards it looks like that of an 80-year-old man). Yet the most profound changes happen in a much more dilated time frame and affect your mind: you deal more calmly with situations that would have given you anxiety, you love your body more and want to nourish and care for it with good foods.

The nature of your superpower

Now you may be wondering what kind of superpower would this be that ages you-even if momentarily-and basically doesn’t make you fly or dodge bullets. It is something much deeper, in fact. It is not a superhero power but it is something that reconnects you with your human nature. Do you remember that you “feel” everything more? Your body, the situations you experience, the colors and scents? Your power is increased by the awareness of your physicality and the power of your mind.

It is not only about the awareness of what you are (in body and mind) but more importantly what you have become and can therefore be. It is a superpower that has accustomed you to no longer suffering change but rather governing it, making it your friend. You know that you can change and especially that you can decide to be the way you want to be. Your new superpower is knowing who you are and deciding who you want to become.


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