Founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd Century, Stoicism has always been favoured by the runner as philosophy of action rather than words.
Ancient Stoics were tested, to success and failure, in the most intense arenas of life.
Seneca as Emperor Nero’s tutor, Epictetus as a former slave turned public speaker, Marcus Aurelius as the last great emperor of Rome, and Chrysippus as a champion runner.
Running and Stoicism have uniquely overlapping values.
The Stoic views obstacles as a powerful opportunity, and running is a discipline that forces us to confront the obstacles in our mind, time and time again.
The freezing cold or oppressive heat, soreness and injuries, tiredness and illness.
These factors can chip away at motivation until all that remains is our natural inclination towards discomfort, the inner strength of the Stoic.
As both the philosophy and running teaches us, the struggle becomes the motivation, the obstacle becomes the way.
And so the Stoic runner welcomes discomfort as a powerful source of resilience, to take into other areas of life.
After all, “90% of running is mental, and the rest is in your head”.