Running is a great way to practise your virtues. The first virtue that comes to my mind is willpower. You need that to get yourself off your comfortable couch and out of the house. Determination and persistance will also serve you well: 'No you can't eat your chocolate and chips, you have to go out for your run!'
But the virtue that's not as obvious, but very important is moderation! Ah, that's the one we struggle the most with. I for one, am always afraid I'll run too little, so just to make sure I run too much! Which inevitable leads to sore muscles and very tender shins.
Nevertheless, I usually snub moderation. That's how little I trust myself not to revert to the lazybones I was eight years ago. Imagine that: eight years! That's quite some time, and stíll I fear falling off the running wagon. As I'm writing this I can't help but shake my head. How stupid am I?
Luckily I'm not the only one who struggles with willpower and moderation. The problem goes as far back as Plato who explained it like this: when you exercise your willpower you're master and slave all at the same time. You're the one that makes the rules, and you're also the one that has to follow them. If you fail to stick to your own rules, you not only dole out the punishment, you're also the one punished.
In the end most people just snap! If you used your willpower to stop eating chocolate, one lustfull day you're going to pig out on it. If you used your willpower to run too fast and too much, some day your body is going to go on strike.
So what to do?!
According to Plato it's all a matter of combining willpower with common sense, justice and courage and use those four to find the right balance. To use your willpower in moderation.
And just for kicks I'm going to combine it with a nice cup of coffee too.