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Couch to 5K
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What do you think about when running?

I am curious to know what people actually think (or not think) about in order to focus on their runs.

Personally I find that I run better and for longer if I am distracted, whether by staring at the scenery around or thinking about the grocery shop. Anything to keep the evil Inner Voice quiet for long enough to complete my laps.

What do you think about when running? Do you, for instance, find it helpful to check the time, count the steps/ breath/ gait etc. or do you try to distract yourself by listening to music and think about things other than running?

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My distraction is music with a fast beat mostly dance music, I couldn't think of anything worse than looking at my phone to see how long I had run for or how much time I had left. My phone goes in my pocket out of the way 😊😊

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I distract myself with podcasts. But if that's not your thing there is running meditation videos on YouTube you can listen to while running.

I see my runs as "me time" time when I take a break all by myself and just let my mind relax.

The one time I did watch the clock I failed the run. It made it so much longer for me and all I could think about was how tired, out of breath and bored I was.

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I'd like to be able to meditate whilst running, so will definitely give them running meditation videos a go! But yes, thank you for pointing out that running being a "me time". I've not thought of it that way before and had been worried about getting back home in good time to do all the chores, etc. It's a nice change to think of exercising and working out as self-care rather than another chore to get through

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The running meditations are really nice. Give them a go! I've tried it a few times but I prefer listening to podcasts now, once that are either stories or something that will make me smile or laugh a little.

It sounds silly but my days, like everyone's, are so busy and normally centred around work, husband and kids. So thinking of my run as "me time" makes it so I actually really look forward to my runs!

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I’m still at the start of this. Initially I couldn’t run at all and I found counting steps in groups of 16 helped me make a start and encouraged my very slow progress. I regularly make up daft running-related words to songs. This week is the first time I’ve been able to jog all the runs in week 1, and I’m trying a couple of new techniques which seem to be helping. I focus at the start of the minute on something a long way down the path, and I think of anything except running. It does seem to distract me from aches and lack of breath and stops me from begging Sanjeev to hurry up and say I can stop 😄

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Mine is music. I find myself either singing or mouthing the words, and some songs just make me smile which sort of Spurs me on

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I am def in the distraction camp. I find that listening to a Podcast or an Audio book keeps me going. I downloaded a few running books which kind of resonate when you are pounding the streets. Just discovered Headspace and listened to their running podcast, it was pretty good. There seems to be quite a few options. Saying that some peeps can't stand anything in their ears while running, but whatever works and keeps you going is a good thing. (Apart from Thrash metal, I'm not sure that could ever be a good thing)

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That's some lovely ideas. I think I have been listening to the wrong sort of podcasts! And will need to give running podcasts a try

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Well, interesting question because I'm not actually sure. I probably have all the usual stuff going through my head but I will try to be aware of it next time and I'll let you know 🤔

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I have cheesy uplifting music on (steps, saw them live in Lytham this year, really fun) and the C25k app cutting in, and the beautiful Lytham StAnnes coast to keep my eyes occupied

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When I’m doing a regular run, I think about anything but running... sometimes I have a podcast on, sometimes I have coach Bennett telling me to slow down, and take in my surroundings. When I’m doing a speed session it’s very much music up and thinking about running... I don’t love those runs as much.

Oh, football and sex too... I’m only a man!

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Just read your post laughed at the last bit 😂😂😂

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I thought honesty was the best policy 😂😂😂

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I have no idea what I think about - complete rubbish probably!

I listen to music and sing along, look at the countryside, and quite often get lost, so am concentrating on finding the path again (that last one is a fabulous distraction technique btw)

Like Hidden , I will try to take more notice next time I'm out!

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Definitely music - it's my chance to listen to all my 70s tracks in peace! I don't really 'think' about anything, my mind tends to wander on it's own sweet path. If I'm worried about something my thoughts might turn to that to try to find a solution, but mainly it's just rubbishy stuff that comes and goes. I try hard not to focus too much on the actual running, I never look at my watch because that would depress me - I go with the flow, keep putting one foot in front of the other and let my mind do whatever it likes, to the soundtrack of the 70s! Bliss!

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Like you, I just try to go with the flow, let my mind wonder and try not to look at the clock! Music definitely helps!

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Well said 🏃‍♀️😊x

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I don't listen to music, but kind of don't need to as when I run, I ALWAYS have a song going round my head!

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Good post. I listen to old 70s music like Boofle999, I do count in numbers for every four steps, which sometimes synchronises perfectly with the music beat, and sometimes does not. I count in percentages complete for each run (a bit OCD), and dream of the day when ALL my blood pressure readings return less than 140 systolic. 1/3 of readings are lower than for the past decade, at around 125/75 after only week 2! That is what motivates me to finish the C25K in the nine weeks.

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And, of course, being able to kick diabetes type 2 without resorting to medication.

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I salute you, sir, for systematically working out your runs and beating diabetes all by yourself x

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Thank you Achy. But I cannot take the credit for this. Thanks is really to the NHS for providing the C25K and the podcasts, and largely to you and the rest of this community for providing blog entries that inspire us to greater things, and a feeling of a helpful community. They say there is a drug produced by the body that makes us crave more exercise once we find our natural rate and push it a bit. I hope that craving will eventually come to you and that you will come to enjoy meeting the goals at the end of each session like many of us do. Please don't be impatient. It's our lives, after all. Best of luck. :-)

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I have music to listen to and try to think of myself as not running but dancing to this music. Sometimes I think about a member of my family who is going through a very rough patch, I then start to worry and try to think of solutions to this. It’s a mixed bag with me I’m afraid.

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I'm a total mixed bag too. I sometimes think about stressful stuff in order to sort them out in my mind and ended up running too fast, as if my body is trying to literally run away from it all! lol

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I tend to concentrate on breathing to start and then my mind wanders or switches off.

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I listen to music with a really good beat but I also use the time to “sort things in my mind” esp if I’ve has a busy/stressful week or have things that are worrying me they all seem better somehow after a mere 30 mins!

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I had an interesting few weeks thinking about how to spend a massive £100m Euro Lottery win. Time seemed to wiz by....

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Time to empty my head and still most thoughts but I do like music. I work on dropping shoulders, breathing more deeply, head up, etc and aim to just still my brain, kinda running with a yoga mind.

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I think keeping that yoga mind is ideal for running for a long time but also really hard to maintain!

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I think that's what the Headspace running podcasts are for - I haven't tried them yet (I usually run to uplifting 90s dance music!) but am curious so will have a look for them

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So, just back from my run and I can confirm that my mind jumps all over the place, things I need to do, things I see around me, keeping my shoulders relaxed, holding my stomach in when one of my neighbours is driving past 😂, thinking how far to go before turning back, wondering if that black cloud is going to empty onto my head in a minute, 🌧🌫

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I just did W7R3 this morning and my train of thoughts is pretty similar to yours lol

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I can’t look at the time because when I did it made it feel so much longer and harder. I have my music on and will look straight ahead at the tv on the wall, just so I don’t look down at the time 😂. When I feel myself really struggling I have a song that I put on that always perks me up and gives me the grit and determination to finish. I often tweak my running playlist just so I don’t get bored. But I can’t run without music!

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