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Following on from my article on RPE. One of the ways in which we are able to influence our RPE is through the practice of Mindfulness while we run.
Think of your running as a meditative practice. It is the activity that allows you to momentarily escape the everyday demands of your life. A place in which you are in control of every step. Each artcile I’ll give you a meditative exercise to practice during your weekly runs. The ultimate intention is to get each of us fully present in our bodies and in control of a quiet mind.
We use out Easy and Long runs to develop this practice. The Mindfulness ultimatly becomes the reason for running, that can take many years to develop. It starts with simple steps Try the following practices for yourself.
It will be difficult at first if you’ve never done this kind of exercise before. Your brain will wander off into other thoughts. Each time you notice that just gently bring your attention back to your big toe.
Start the exercise 10 minutes into your run and continue for at least 10 minutes. Work up to 20 minutes. Do this on all your Easy runs. Also use it for 5 minute periods on your long weekend run.
Focus on the big toe. Feel what happens to it when your foot lands, what is it doing when you’re in mid stance(all your weight on that foot), when your foot leaves the ground , what is it doing. There is no right or wrong answer to those questions. All you do is observe the big toe, don’t try to change anything, just observe it. If you find yourself thinking about other stuff just gently bring your thoughts back to the big toe and continue to observe it.
Another good focal point is the hips. Where are they in relation to the grounded foot and your shoulders. How do they feel? Powerful, loose, tight etc.
Once again don’t be concerned with right or wrong simply focus on where they are and how they feel. Keep the mental focus there and if you find yourself thinking about other stuff then gently bring your thoughts back to the moment and what your hips are doing.
Pay attention to how you breath when you run. Is your mouth open or closed. Do you breath in a rhythm with your footsteps? How do you breath going uphill, downhill or on a flat. When you run fast do you feel like your muscles can go faster if you could get more oxygen or do you feel like your muscles are burning but you’re still breathing ok
As with our other Mindful practices , there is no right or wrong here. All you to do is notice what is happening with your breathing. Don’t judge just observe.