Parts and Process

It had been a week since Laura and I had spoken. I could tell she had been thinking about what we talked about.

We were sitting in the bleachers at the track. She had just finished her workout, and the late day sun was casting an orange glow on the bleacher steps.

“You can’t understand the value of a whole process by separating the parts from the process, or the process from the parts,” I told her.

“When you separate the parts of the process, there is no process. There are only parts. Parts without a process have no motion, no purpose. They’re lifeless. Instead of being like running, filled with motion and purpose, it is the antithesis of running. To fully understand the role each part plays in the training program, you have to see it as part of the whole training program, not separate from the whole, by itself.

“Think about the workout you just did. That one workout is a part. That one workout, by itself, means nothing by itself. It is an integral, meaningful part of the entire training process that gives you meaning well beyond running a PR. When you remember the entire training process, you remember much more than any single workout. You remember that the single workout is part of a much larger process than enables you to narrow the gap between who you are and who you want to be.”

Laura’s eyes began to well up. She seemed to want to say something, but didn’t.  

“There is a process, Laura, filled with specific moving parts, to get you to that point, to enable you to achieve something with your running that transcends any single workout. And, after all, isn’t that where the joy of running and training comes from? To integrate the parts into the whole, so that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts?

“That’s what the training process is all about.”

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