Avoid Burnout with Meditative running

One way to avoid burnout with running and to enjoy it overall is to treat running as meditation time.  I don't do this on every run, but often when I'm running solo or trying to get into a groove and find my flow, I do.  I've highlighted two methods for tuning inward, mindfully and meditatively.

1.The breathing practice: rhythmic breathing is essential to fluid running experiences.  Rhythmic breathing tells your brain and heart that everything is under control.  Imagine, if you were sitting and your heart were beating as fast as it does when you run.  Or imagine how it would feel if you were being chased.  Your brain would interpret that fast heart beat as a moment for fight or flight.  However, when the breath is controlled, despite the fast beat, your brain interprets your experience as relaxed awareness.  *It is one way to train your brain to relax if you suffer from anxiety.  I like to breathe in for one short count, and breathe out for 2-3 long counts.  Find a rhythm that works for you, and at any point during your run return your focus to your breath, similar to how you might with a sitting meditation.

2. The second practice is about tuning into your "felt experience".  I keep hearing the term "sensory running" these days.  Felt experience and sensory running is essentially what this practice is.  While you are running you notice how each aspect of your experience is.  No judgement attached.  You feel each foot fall and connect to the ground; you notice that as you leap off the sidewalk you get a little thrill; you notice that sweat is dripping into your eyes; you smell fresh cut grass... you get the idea.  You just take it all in.  Running is the medium for the experience of your "felt sense".  To really tune in try running without music or apps blasting in your ears, maybe don't even pay attention to your watch.  

Hope this is helpful to you, or maybe a little interesting.  :D   

Happy running!

Up Hill Training

Running up hill is hard work. It is hard work that pays off quickly.  Up hill running is one of the quickest ways to improve cardio stamina and build strength.  Need a little know-how or tips?  Keep on reading... 

Why run UPHILL?!?

  • Running up hill gets your heart and muscles in shape FAST!  
  • Hill work is like doing a strength/resistance training workout, the potential muscles that will become more defined: calves, quads, butt, and arms!
  • It makes you faster on all types of surfaces.
  • Up hill running is a good way to avoid typical injuries like shin splints and tendonitis (just don't be speedy going back down the hill).
  • The potential for finding beautiful views is highly likely!
  • It's a good reason to do a short run.

So what would a hill workout look like?

Hill Sprints: Find a hill that you can run up at a consistent pace for approximately 60-90 seconds. Run to the location, if its an option, for a warm-up.    Run up hill at your 5k race pace (so pretty fast, but not an all-out sprint).  After 60-90 seconds walk or lightly jog back down to your starting point.  Repeat 3-4 times the first workout.  Do this workout once a week.  Increase your repeats each week (by one or two hills) until you can do 8-10 repeats.  

Consistent-Pace Hills:  Hopefully you encounter hills on some of your daily runs or long runs. Most people slow down when running up hill on a regular, everyday kind of run.  However, these can be a good opportunity to do an impromptu hill workout.  Here's what you do:  when approaching a hill maintain your "flat-surface" speed all the way to the top.  That's it!  It will feel like you are speeding up, but that's just gravity trying to pull you down :D

Long Hills:  Instead of focusing on how fast you are going up a hill, just run up (steady, slow pace) without stopping for as long as you can.  Running on trails and in mountainous areas can be a good place for this type of hill training.

***Any of these hill workouts can be simulated on a treadmill.

 

Biomechanics: When running up shorten your stride and keep your head erect, don't look down...your head is heavy and will slow you down if it is hovering out in front of you.  Lift your knees high, and push off on your toes.  

 

Pro Tip: I wouldn't recommend doing a hill workout the day before or after a long run, race, or speed workout.  If you did light runs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with a long run on Saturday or Sunday, I would recommend you do a hill workout on Tuesday or Thursday (in-between regular days), or replace one of the regular days with the hill workout. 

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