Improve Your Running Experience With This One Thing
Sep 22, 2016
For as long as I have been running, I have been working to improve my experience and performance. In the past several months, I have discovered how by being mindful.
Mindfulness, as defined by Google, is as follows:
1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
"their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition"
2. a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
I have been thinking about mindfulness lately. Since the beginning of the year, I have added yoga to my regular routine. Much like a long run, yoga has taught me mindfulness - getting in tune with what’s going on inside my head, inside my heart and how my body is feeling physically.
The most difficult thing about running, for me, has been the mental batlle. The mental battle is won when you learn to just be. Taking your thoughts, your feelings, the “stuff” of life that is happening and allowing yourself to feel it and think through it. This is mindfulness. A long run challenges me to do that.
The most difficult part of training my first year, was spending time out there, getting my miles in, with nothing to do but think. I was not accustomed to spending long amounts of time thinking. I had three children and, for quite a while, I had not had the quiet time and space for myself and my thoughts.
It took quite a bit of adjustment to push through the discomfort of it and learn how to be alone with my thoughts. It took practice and discipline. At times, it still take practice and discipline. But now, I can tell when I am in need of it - and so can my family. It is therapy for me. It is a stress reliever that yields a sense of calm. It is taking in a deep breath and breathing.
Unfortunately, it is easy, as with many other things, to get caught up in time, mileage, pace and perfomance. This can take all of the fun out of running, for me. If I am focused on a particular time, mileage or pace, the success of that run is totally dependent on those three aspects. The fact that I just completed 3, 8, 15 or 20 miles becomes eclipsed by the disappointment of not moving as quickly, far, or as efficiently, as I wanted. But I just did 20 miles! Who cares how long it took or how pretty it was? If I cannot appreciate the accomplishment then the fun, the joy is gone.
When I am mindful of the moment, the activity, the accomplishment, I can appreciate the experience, relax and grow as a runner in strength and speed.
I encourage you to be mindful as you head out on your next walk or run. Enjoy the activity and the ability to move - nevermind the pace or the distance. Just enjoy. I dare you!
Be your best!
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