my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise

A stream of consciousness on a recent run…

Nike run mindfully today

Here’s an idea I had, to focus more on the moment while I’m out running. Hope you enjoy reading it!

I’m aware of my not-100% health as I lace up my cool, bright Nike Frees, and am preparing myself for the sheer enjoyment of getting outside and starting to run. I open the door and the fresher smell of plants, grass, soil and flowers jolts my senses into action. I realise I am smiling, and I haven’t even left my back garden yet. I turn and start running, slowly at first, while I consider which of the multitude of routes I’m going to take to run to work today. As my calves remind me of their pain following last night’s longer run home from work, I quickly settle on a fairly direct route to work and I thank myself for being wise and not over-exerting myself. I think back to the last week of various frustrations with my career, my workload and my health and I smile again. All of that seems like nothing now I’m running, in my rhythm, and this next 40 minutes or so is my precious time to feel free, to answer to no-one, and to give my body what it needs. I’m reminded of a quote, which is kind of the wrong way round in this context, but it comes to me anyway, ‘reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body.’ I’m fully aware of my heart-rate being monitored, and so, just because I can, I glance at my funky-cool Garmin Forerunner 210, click through to see my heart rate, and realise it is higher than I expected it to be for this more leisurely pace. I start to reflect upon my food choices, and wonder if my heart rate is so high because I eat anything in sight, whether or not it is good for me. I make a mental note to try to eat more sensibly, but as quickly as that thought comes, another follows that reassures me that I won’t be doing any such thing. I enjoy each light foot strike on the ground, edging me closer to my destination, but adding to my sense of freedom as I immerse myself further and relentlessly further into my run. Suddenly, I resolve to put in a sprint on a downhill section of the run. It feels amazing, but I know I can’t do this for long before my legs buckle under the protestations of my lower legs. As I slow again, I feel even more energised, and thankful that I can do this. That I choose to do this, and I do it. I glide past a car garage and go up the short incline over the railway bridge. Traffic is getting busier, and I know I’m probably only ten minutes away from stopping, which my body is wanting right now. My body is warm, my back is hot from my rucksack and I’m aware of sweat on my forehead. It feels good to know I’ve worked up a sweat despite the slower pace of today’s effort. I want to break off the shackles and sprint again for a bit, but my calves are pleading with me to stop, let alone sprint. I wait, and hope that I can find it within me to sprint the final section of my route to work to finish in style. I think about what to ‘title’ my run on Strava, as I’m approaching the middle of my #90sTuneStreak, naming each run after an author and song title from the 1990s. I’m on ‘L’ and so, after much thought, I decide on ‘Lemonheads – If I could talk I’d tell you.’ I’m happy with the choice, but look forward to the next run or ride, which is a tune I really enjoyed at the time and brings back so many memories. Back in the now, and I’ve almost finished the long, painful climb towards the final flourish. My musical interlude has given way to a raft of tunes that I’m trying to use to inspire me to run quicker now I’m near the end. Songs by Counting Crows, James, Oasis and Ben Folds Five come and go, and then it’s on. The final push. I ease into running quicker and before I know it, it is time to stop. I’m thankful, but I enjoyed every second of this sensory experience. I look forward already to the next run, though my calves don’t. I save my run, and the day, in all its jobs, tasks, to-do lists and frustrations begins. 

This was the run I was writing about:


3 comments on “A stream of consciousness on a recent run…

  1. The Running Schlub
    March 11, 2014

    Great post. I dont do enough thinking during my runs, I slap on the headphones and pretty much just let my mind go blank. This is the second post I’ve read in the last couple days about thoughts throughout the run, I need to try that a bit more.

    • barefoottc
      March 11, 2014

      Thanks for the feedback about the post. I really enjoyed writing this one, and letting my brain run free thinking about what I was thinking about, while I was running. It’s really a fun exercise, and it is amazing what pops into your head when there’s no music to concentrate on. I’d love to hear how you get on with your experiment!

      • The Running Schlub
        March 11, 2014

        Here is another blog I read and this runner discussed how we get fixed on the destination rather than the journey. We miss out on a lot of what we go through and see throughout the run to get to the end. Just another way to evaluate our runs. I definately need to think throughout my runs more than just zoning out and running to the end. I’m sure my runs would be much different.

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