Posted by: jawsome | April 8, 2011

Mindfulness

I’ve pretty much taken this week off of running. Sometimes I find that running helps me deal with stress, but there are times also when I need to take a little break from running. I find that when I focus too much on races, or paces, that I lose sight of why I’m running in the first place. I know that probably sets me apart from you more competitive folks who use that drive to keep you going – but I’ve always been like this. I think it was probably the kiss of death to my shortlived high school track career – I would get so involved and so worked up that it stopped being fun. And that’s what I want running to be in my life: fun. And fun for me may be quite different from fun for someone else.

This is all leading up to something I promise

In my work lately I’ve been doing a lot of workshops on mindfulness. What is mindfulness? Well technically it is a detached awareness that allows us to really be in the present moment without life distractions getting in the way. The idea is to take a few deep, calming breaths and just focus on what you’re doing right now. I’ve washed dishes mindfully. Focus on the texture of the plates, the slippery feel of the soap, the warmth of the water. Feel the ground beneath your feet and the feeling of your toes in your shoes.

But my favorite place to practice mindfulness is on the run. Put your Garmin down for a moment, stop the iPod, forget about your pace, your nutrition strategy and whether or not you feel good or strong. Just be. Don’t think about work, or your family, or your stupid car battery that died this week. Think about how the ground feels beneath your feet. Feel the wind brush your skin, hear your breath. Look at your surroundings – don’t just rush by them.

My favorite runs are like this – I think it’s time I reminded myself of that

PS it’s a good thing I’m moving to Portland. I can re-join America’s hippie nation.

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Responses

  1. i feel the same way – getting so hung up on training that it loses it’s fun. but at the same time, i feel like i need the structure of training and the goal of a race to stay motivated… i do find though that after even a short break from running (or cycling, yoga, etc) i come back more refreshed and relaxed. so three cheers for taking breaks!

    i love the idea of mindfulness, but i don’t know if i could apply it to training. i’m way to hung up on the numbers and details! but maybe that’s just more reason why i should ditch them…?


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