Running is good for us. This is not news. It helps us keep our weight down, improves our cardiovascular health, and can also relieve stress. We love running so much that is has become a culture in and of itself. There are running clubs and teams and competitions. There are running races for charitable causes. There are running apps and running shoes and running shorts and running shirts and running hats. But what if we got rid of all of that? What if we took away the playlists, and mileage trackers and calorie counters, and just went on a run strictly for the sole pleasure of running? Not to train for a competition. Not to keep pace or beat a time. Not to test out the fanciest new high-tech gear, but rather just to immerse ourselves in the experience of running; to find our breath get connected to the experience in a simpler way. How would the experience change? How might we change? And, perhaps, most importantly, how might we pull this off?
Let me first take a step back and say that I am by no means trying to diss the running culture and all the cool stuff that goes along with it. Believe me, I get just as excited about a new pair of kicks as the next person. Instead, what I’m trying to do is to simply suggest a way that we can pay more attention to the experience. It’s good for our minds and our bodies if from time to time we allow ourselves to take a step back and simply be connected to the wonderful experience that is running.
Here’s what I suggest to give your run the attention it deserves:
- Ditch the music---from time to time leave the playlist at home and get connected to the experience. You may surprised to see just how much you notice about your body and your chosen route when you’re not rocking out along the way.
- Ditch the tech---you don’t need your phone or a mileage tracker or a watch or a light-up blinking visor to go out and get a good run in. Keep it simple. All you need is a pair of comfy kicks, some shorts, and a t-shirt and you can be on your way! See how your experience changes when you’re not checking your wristwatch every quarter mile.
- Ditch the distractions---if you’re human you may have a tendency to replay or plan your day while you’re exercising. Stop it! Let your time on the trail or treadmill be YOUR time. Every time you get distracted, Find Your Breath and let go of any thoughts that are getting in your way. Don’t give away your time to thoughts or worries about anything or anyone else. You deserve it.
- Ditch the technique----I know, I know, I know…. just hear me out. I am by no means suggesting that you put yourself at risk for injury here. What I mean to suggest is that maybe instead of being so tuned into your form, that you instead try letting that go from time to time to focus on other aspects of your experience. Pay attention to your strength, to being energized, and to the joy of running. You may notice that you get a little more out of your run than you expected this way.
Lace up those kicks, get out there, and give it a shot! Let us know how it went when you get back by dropping a line in the comments section of our blog!