I think some runners have a problem – they have forgotten the true meaning of running. Instead the first thing they are looking at is their watch. What’s their pace? Can they run a negative split? Putting additional pressure on themselves. Invariably at some point they not only start to take some (all?) of the enjoyment out of running, but they are forgetting the true meaning of why they are running in the first place.
Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing but respect for those people. Those who can break records, run a sub X hour marathon, continually pushing their body to the limits to better themselves. No it’s not that. It’s more that I think once in a while they should get back to really connecting with their run. Falling back in love with it. It will help them in the long run.
The first step is to ensure you don’t take your run too seriously. This isn’t about speed records. Stop. Look around. Dance if you want to (heck I’ve ben know to rock out a bit of air guitar from time to time). As above cover your face in mud. Jump in the puddles. Get your feet wet. Run like Phoebe.
Second step is to remember to smile. There are may times when I’m out running that I realise I’m running with a huge smile across my face. This typically comes when I’m really listening to my body as it runs. No doubt running is good for you physically, but it’s amazing for you mentally as well. Those endorphins don’t lie. Allow yourself to smile, to laugh and to feel the enjoyment that your run is bringing.
Third step is to ensure you pay attention to your surroundings, whether you are running through the most magical trail in the world or through the city that you call home. Stop and feed a horse. Dip your feet into a cold running stream. Smell the flowers. Watch the sky for birds of prey. Remember this isn’t about time. It’s about being aware of the beautiful place we call home.
I’d seriously recommend a running adventure – one of my favourite weekends (of my life) was during a training weekend with my running buddy The Dr (but don’t ask him to perform a heart transplant on you) Alistair Reid. We decided we needed a bit of a challenge so we decided to run around the wonderful island of Arran – over 3 days. It was magical. We chatted. We laughed. We talked utter bollocks.
Now it won’t be possible to take off for 3 days on a whim so in the meantime consider a running adventure closer to home. Grab a buddy. Head outside. Plan a adventure. Enjoy the freedom running gives you. Plan lunch as part of the adventure. Take a camera.
Trust me. Get yourself outside, forget about the pressures of time. Leave your watch at home. Go connect back with why you love to run. You won’t regret it.