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Thinking and Listening on the Run

Posted Oct 17 2008 9:13pm

In fairness to non-runners it's a sensible question when they ask, “What do you think about when you run?”  And Rochesterian  Sandy also has disussed in a post what we think about when we run.

Tabloid Honestly, lots of my thoughts while running are unimpressive.   Oh sure, I’ve planned my day, rehearsed some presentations, solved minor problems, and even had a few creative moments of brilliance while running. 

Sometimes I have conversations with me—throwing down a challenge to my legs to hold a fast pace or scolding my ego for making the textbook mistake for the thousanth time of starting way faster than I can finish.   Several times, I’ve had to pull ol’ Tom back together after a startle by a dog or biker.

But I’d be lying if didn’t admit that many of my running thoughts are like a bad checkout stand tabloid—filled with nonsense, irrelevance, and pretty half-baked, flashes and poofs of a thought.  Not sure I even have many complete thoughts, and when I do, they're often not about running. 

The truth is I emerge the best from my runs when I give up hard-core thinking to figure things out and replace it with listening.   Not listening to sound sounds like footsteps or breathing, but listening to check-in messages that explain what I’m overlooking.  Messages like…

  • You’re feeling sluggish because you’re carrying those nagging car repair worries with you…
  • That boost to glide up those hills came from the better sleep you’re finally getting
  • Hey, did you just notice how much stronger you feel this week at mile 12 than you did last month...
  • Nice recovery from last week's tempo run blunder...see what a difference the right pace makes...
  • Did you ever consider how six weeks of hot, humid running might just be making your attitude crappy...

Tomorrow is a 20 mile run for me.  It’s a hefty task on the body.  But I also look forward to it as a place-holder for three plus hours to listen and understand what’s going on with my running and life.

Tabloid on Flickr by Vermontjm

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