The French writer and philosopher Albert Camus once said: “It was only in the depths of winter that I realized that an invincible summer reigned within me.”
Anyone who has feared winter as a runner, perhaps even stayed on the sofa, or who, as a non-runner, has not been able to overcome their weaker self in winter, let me tell you: Albert Camus said everything correctly. All.
The inner summer
If you have a little courage from the middle or end of November until March and April, if you set off now, you will feel the summer. The inner summer. When the sun rises over the city, the fields and the forests in the morning, when the cold air cuts through the blue sky, a completely different kind of oxygen flows through the lungs. Someone who goes straight to the heart, if you can allow it.
In harmony with the body
Of course it is true that running in winter strengthens the immune system. Of course, it’s true that exercise and light work well against depression in a time of much darkness, that the body burns more calories when it’s cold. But this is not new. And that doesn’t really matter.
Camus was not a runner. But Camus has spoken out about what is perhaps the most important reason for running in winter. The cold makes us perceive our bodies much more clearly. We feel more vulnerable, our senses work much more sensitively.
The path to inner strength
And here’s the point: there have to be those vulnerable and sensitive moments to get inner strength. These moments make you strong for everything that comes after. For nature, winter is a time for reflection. Time to regroup, time to recharge your batteries. Nature pauses, the old remains behind. So that something new can be born.
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Trees sprout from within in spring. Nature awakens cautiously and attentively. We’re just part of it. And unfortunately we too often ignore what nature shows us. She’s basically the best teacher, let’s remember. And orient ourselves to her again.
The cold guides us on the way to inner strength
If you want to be strong this spring, stronger than ever, both physically and mentally, now is the time. Just now. And the time leading up to spring is a wonderful journey. One that’s not about toughening up. It’s about feeling the inner warmth again through the cold. Or to experience something new. One that is not about training personal bests. It’s about using the stillness of winter while running. To recharge your batteries through movement.
Addicted to the inner warmth
Anyone who can get involved will run more often in winter than ever before. Because inner warmth, the inner summer, it can be very addictive. Above all, it can do one thing: make you happy. It may sound a bit philosophical, but: Camus probably also wanted to say that sometimes it has to get cold to realize how important inner warmth is. You can use them for yourself to take care of yourself, but you can also give them to others.
I decided to give people a little warmth and courage to finally start walking. Sometimes we need someone to give us a spiritual hand so we can finally move. Maybe I’ll grab a self-confessed non-runner or two and run with them. Very slowly, just at a feel-good pace. Winter is perfect for that.
Together through the cold time
I’m happy to admit: I too have to use the winter and the rest of my inner warmth to fight my way back. The first competition that I want to run with friends is coming up in six months. And until then I still have a lot to do. Still have a few kilometers to go. Slowly, without pressure. And I hope that from time to time I will also be given a spiritual hand if winter shows its cold and hard sides. Runners need to be there for each other.
In summer as in winter.
That’s how it works.