In short distances—from 100 metres to a mile—it is easy to maintain enthusiasm. You get a burst of energy or inspiration and you go. But for long distances, to maintain enthusiasm is very difficult. There are many, many ways to keep your enthusiasm when you are getting tired in long distance, but here are two ways that are particularly effective.
Think of yourself as a child
While running, do not think of yourself as twenty-five or thirty years old. Only think of yourself as six or seven years old. At the age of six or seven, a child does not sit; he just runs here and there. So imagine the enthusiasm of a young child and identify yourself, not with the child, but with the source of his enthusiasm. This is one way.
Breathe with other runners
Another secret way, if you are running long distance, is to identify yourself with ten or even twenty runners who are ahead of you. Only imagine the way they
are breathing in and breathing out. Then, while you are inhaling, feel that you are breathing in their own breath and that the energy of the twenty runners is entering into you. Then, while you are exhaling, feel that all twenty runners are breathing out your tired- ness and lack of enthusiasm.
While you are running, it may be di cult for you to feel that cosmic energy is entering into you. So occultly or secretly you can try breathing in the breath of twenty runners at a time. The energy which you will receive, which is nothing but enthusiasm, will let you go ten steps forward. But you have to remember that you are breathing in their breath, their inspiration and determination, and not their tiredness. You have to feel that their breath is like pure, distilled water. If you think of someone who is not running well, that person’s breath will not help you. But if you think of someone who is running faster than you, his energy will help you. You are not stealing it; only you are taking in the spiritual energy that is all around him and inside him, just as it is inside you. But because he is running faster, you are more conscious of it in him.