During my yoga classes, our instructor always encourages us to 'bring awareness to our practice.' Bring awareness to your hips in this pose, bring awareness to your breath during pranayama exercises and how you feel afterwards, and learn to be aware of what your body is doing during poses and how the poses make your body feel. One could look at this practice of awareness as being alert to what is going on both in your mind (thoughts, feelings, emotions) and around you (movements, surroundings), and trying to accept that whatever is happening to you is right, (source). Basically, going with the flow, letting your mind be still and knowing that you're right where you need to be. I've missed this self-awareness for a while now, and despite it being difficult to get back into, I'm enjoying the journey.
I decided to try this practice of awareness with my running, to go along with bringing positive thoughts to my runs. I tried this during Saturday's run of 4.28 miles, and although I felt a bit silly at first, I just decided to go with it because the positive thoughts, both concrete and abstract, just kept coming!
I was aware of my hips and the little stretchy feeling of what I presume to be my piriformis muscles as I ran.
I was aware that my heel didn't hurt when I first started out, (until recently, it was always like this).
I was aware of the changes in temperature as I made my way through my route.
I was aware of the lying snow in some places, and melted snow in others.
I was aware of how quiet and still the morning was.
I was aware that I just ran up that hill quite quickly!
I was aware that the only sound I heard was my feet hitting the pavement.
I was aware that the only thing my mind was thinking of was this awareness.
I was aware that I had startled three female pheasants that all flew away as I passed.
I was aware that I was loving this run and that bringing awareness to my running practice made the time go quicker but also helped me think in a more positive and appreciative way about things like:
That I was thankful I was running without pain.
That I was thankful I was running in these cooler temperatures.
That I was thankful I was running with two thermal tops on instead of my running jacket.
That I was thankful the roads were quiet so I could have more space for me.
That I was thankful for the sun.
That I was thankful for being able to run earlier in the day, (usually I'm a later-in-the-day runner).
That I was thankful for my Garmin, which kept track of everything about me, including my heart, (I love that watch by the way!)
That I was thankful to be able to continue to run through all my previous injury frustrations.
That I was thankful that I could afford to buy myself new running clothes.
That I was thankful for that moment.
That I was thankful for just being able to run.
This way of thinking totally changed how I felt about my run and took away all the nagging, negative thoughts that can easily creep in. I also felt so calm and in the moment, which isn't something I've ever associated with running. I thought yoga and surfing would help me with that. I'm going to continue bringing awareness to my solo runs, and finding things to be thankful for.
What will you do to enhance your running 'practice'?