Readiness Potential and Running

As the season has been changing from Summer to Fall, I have found myself steeped in the semester with significantly less time to dedicate to long bike rides. Also, wrestling season begins soon and I will be running a 5K Turkey Trot. All of this calls for a switch from cycling to running as my primary aerobic activity. I jumped on a treadmill in the WSU fitness center yesterday and found myself thinking about readiness potential.

I run in order to acquire certain sensor-motor capacities to act, including the capacity to run the 5k with a reasonably good time (hoping for 8-9 minutes per mile), and the endurance to last in live wrestling longer than a couple rounds. I listen to music in order to develop the capacity to dissociate my mind from my body – that is, to stop thinking about muscle fatigue, heart rate, and sweat by moving my concentration out of the small areas of my body that ache in order to focus on the broader goal of moving at a certain pace. As I run, I search out connections with cycling, telling myself that moving my legs here is no different than on the bike: just keep peddling; just keep running. The rest will take care of itself. The more I run, the easier it is to meet my goals.

Bawarshi situates readiness potential within genres. I situate readiness potential within the nexus of prior experience, ongoing practice, and genre. As I ran, I thought about how writers have to acquire capacities to sit and think through their moving fingers. The keyboard extends the arm; enters into circuits of doing and thinking and writing. The body must cooperate to some extent, resting somewhat comfortably. Shaking legs to numb the mind’s want to wander. Listening to music (or not) to keep focused on the writing task. Through practice, the act of sitting down and reaching a writing goal becomes more ready-at-hand.

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