We really do run with our heads

I set out before 7am with the traitor voice in my head on a loop during the warm up walk "Why are you doing this." " You hate running really." "Your joints are going to hurt like hell later." "Why not just go round the block and back home?" I'm sure lots of people have had these thoughts at the start of a run.

Well, I hadn't been running more than a minute when I realised I'd left my inhaler at home. Oh the perfect excuse. I could stop and go home. As I ran along arguing with myself, with good head voice pointing out I'd never actually had to stop and use it during a run, when it suddenly dawned on me that I'd run through the tough first 5minutes of ragged breathing and had settled into a nice pace and I was really enjoying myself. The inhaler problem was just the distraction I needed to shut up traitor head voice.

Anyway I got to thinking about thinking, and how just thinking about distances and times and achey bit and breathing when I'm running is a recipe for a terrible run. So I let my thoughts wonder off to my lovely Dad who we lost at the end of last year after a ferocious fight against prostate cancer. I remembered things I hadn't thought about since I was little- silly little things, funny things, good times and tough times. Things that in the normal rush and bustle of everyday life there never seems enough time to remember. In the end I ran 6k whilst lost in my thoughts and could have carried on if I hadn't reached the end of my route.

So that was my run. Just me and my dad. No effort, no strain, no puffing and blowing, no 'only another km until it's time to stop.' I've no idea of my time but I don't care. I was running on automatic whilst my brain was otherwise engaged and it was wonderful.

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31 Replies

  • That's being in the zone . How fantastic , only happened to me once , wish it happened more often . Hope there's more runs like that . Well done on the 6 k .

  • Thanks Rockette -I can feel every cm of that 6k now but it was so worth it :)

  • Yes I did the other day lol

  • how wonderful, i love it when your mind just wanders when running, because as you say you just go for it and it is over before you know it.

  • My first experience of 'The Zone.' Hope there are many more :)

  • Aww AM - that just captures what a good run is really about! It really gives us time to reflect if we just let it.

  • Thanks Ullyrunner. It's been a revelation. I feel like I've discovered a whole new dimension to running.

  • Sounds perfect. Have you read Murakami's 'What I Talk About When I Talk About Running'? Sounds like it might be right up your street - it's sort of quietly, matter-of-factly philosophical in rather a lovely way. :)

  • Thanks for the recommendation Tea_fairy. I haven't heard of the it but sounds really interesting. I'll give it a look :)

  • Aw thats so lovely AM. I love this site so many different stories

  • You're so right GJ. We all have our different stories and motivations but we're united by our love of running :)

  • Aw Epic Mum, what a lovely post :-) I can relate to this so much having lost my dad just under 2 years ago, it brought a tear to my eye, Christmas, Birthdays, they arent the same anymore, but we have just got to remember all the good times and hold on to that.

    Running gives you that headspace doesnt it and just gives us the opportunity just to be alone with our thoughts ....

    Have a big hug ((( ))) :-) xxx

  • Thanks Poppy and for the hug xx. You're so right, Christmas and birthdays will never be the same again but the memories are still there and even more important now. It's good to just think and reminisce xxx

  • Great post. I've had a couple of runs where my thoughts have just wandered off and before I knew it Laura was telling me that there was 60 seconds to go! It's a great feeling.

  • Thanks Paul :)

  • I might have known you'd sum it up so beautifully KK :) "Spending time with our loved ones" What a perfect way to think of it. Thank you xxx

  • Sounds that you had lovely time running with special memories

  • It was very special Fitfor60 I'm very achey now though :)

  • Sounds like a perfect run. Even better when you could so easily have packed it in. It just proves that it's best to stick with it and keep,going. I am ever such a daydreamer so I find that ages go by and I've not really noticed

  • I'm beginning to suspect daydreaming could be the secret to successful running MissW :)

  • What a great post :) and you're so right. Running is as much (if not more) about your mind as it is your body. Well done on your run too :)

  • Thanks LSB. I didn't really believe the mind was quite so influential until today. It's been a revelation.

  • Well done, GM. :-) That nagging voice is horrible; I'm sick of the sound of it! You carried on though, with the perfect 'excuse' (though it is really quite valid!) to go home, but you carried on: well done! Sounds like quite the run, and you found the Zone as well. :-)

  • Thanks M_Y. It was a very lovely run but, being if not ancient then at least well seasoned, I am very achey now. Did you stick to your plan for a rest weekend or did you sneak out for a quick 5k this morning? ;)

  • No no, GM, I was good; I rested all weekend! I was tempted to do some cross training earlier, but resisted. I'm swapping things about this week; the long run will be on Saturdays now, to give me more time. I'm going to alternate weeks: one week running four days, the next running three. The removable day will be Mondays and is hill sessions; less about time/distance and more about hill repetitions. :-)

  • Oh well done you, I felt sure you'd be out there pounding the roads :) :) Your Saturday long run certainly makes sense. It must be difficult finding enough time for your longer run midweek.

    The weekends are the only time I can do longer than 30 minutes, so I'm planning to alternate Parkruns and a very very gradual increase up to 10k. I'm not expecting to get there anytime soon but I'm not in any rush. :) :)

    Enjoy your run tomorrow morning. I'll look forward to reading your post :)

  • I very nearly did a run to the gym and some cross training, but I was good! :D

    Yeah, I realised on Friday that I can't do linger runs during the week; I just don't have the time. Saturdays are far better for them. It means not doing many Parkruns, but I'll be able to do the occasional one.

    Your plan sounds good; there's no need to rush at all. :-) just keep adding half a K every other week and you'll be knocking on the 10K door soon enough!

    Thank you; it'll be hard work but worth it in the long run! I'll post when I get back in. :-)

  • Aww AM that sounds like a blissful run!

    How lovely :-)

  • It was lovely and I consider myself very lucky to have enjoyed such a great run :)

  • That sounds great. I have felt I am on the edge of the zone sometimes-it's a bit like a carrot on a stick dangllng just out of reach. My guess is it's unlikely to happen when you have the adrenaline ofother runners around you.My closest experiences have been when I've been out in the wilds and its just me and the dogs... I think I'll make my next run one of those after reading your inspiring post. Have you read Nature Cure by Richard Mabey? It's not about running but about the healing qualities that landscape and nature can have on a troubled mind. Very inspiring.

  • I've never known anything like it before but really hope it happens again. You're probably right that it's a solitary thing, I can't imagine feeling like that in company. Thanks for the book recommendation, I'll give it a look :)

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