One simple yet effective technique to improve your running

Meaning, we apply it to things aallll day, everyday, period.

That person that cut us off in the traffic…grrrrr! (let’s be honest this is the go-to reaction for most of us…but one I’m definitely working on!). The tone of voice of your friend, partner, boss, a slight change and we wonder what’s wrong…

Rain is bad. Sun is good. Wind makes us (me!) angry. Headwinds suck. Tailwinds are greattttt………the list is endless.

I dare you to just tune in, if you don’t already, to all the chatter in your head, all the meaning-making that is going on without you even being aware of it.  I bet you might be surprised at what you hear, even if it is a small Mogwai living inside your stomach chanting “feeeeed me” in an attempt to undoubtedly justify the need for you to order pizza, like, right now!

So now that I’ve caught your attention with the apparent silver-bullet to your running woes, and also made you call Dominos while you settle into this blog, what IS this one simple technique to improve your running? The answer is to not assign meaning to stuff. That’s it you say?? Well, yeah, super simple, but maybe not that easy – there’s a difference.

So how does it work? Let’s use a hard run for example and something starts to hurt. Acknowledge what the issue is, address it and move on. Simple.
Let’s break that down some more. What we are wanting to do is to just stay in the ‘moment’. Often times when something starts to hurt, we can start to stress out, and stressing out is assigning meaning, generally bad! We think, “oh sh*t, my lungs are on fire, if it keeps hurting I won’t achieve my time goal, damn this is hurting even more. I’m using so much energy on overthinking, maybe I can try to breath through the holes in my ears for extra oxygen, omg, I can’t breath through my ears… is overrrr!!!” 😀  So maybe it’s not quite so extreme but you get what I’m saying, right?

What meaning do you assign running on a treadmill?!

For me, I have always struggled when things have started to really hurt when I run fast, particularly when my breath would come hard and fast. I had associated this discomfort with something bad, especially if I seem to be hurting more than others doing the same thing!
You know that friend that you went for a casual Sunday morning jog or run with. You know, the one that time who was happily telling your about their week while you (not so silently) die running next to them praying they don’t ask you a question as your only form of communication is a grunt!Well, the chatter in my head would take off at a great rate telling me how useless I am, how I just wasn’t good enough. I would assign some crazy negative meaning to stuff that just didn’t deserve that much energy, in fact, scratch that, any energy (see, still learning).By wasting a ton of energy on being negative I would just lead myself into a negative spiral of death and dismay…sigh…

So I say it again. This change is simple, but it isn’t easy. It means catching my thoughts red-handed when they kick into overdrive adding layers of meaning to stuff that doesn’t deserve meaning. When I’m breathing hard now, I can acknowledge that my body is working hard and doing just what it should be doing at that moment (this is where I’m supposed to be). When someone cuts me off in traffic (if I can catch the reaction quick enough) I can let it go, without it affecting my mood. Not applying meaning allows us to be more present in our daily lives and allows us to be way more kick-arse runners. It’s a win-win.

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