Why are you running? Most of the time, the answers to this question are as unique as fingerprints. And they often open a window into a person's life. That's how fundamental running is for many people. And these reasons are the rocket fuel that drives our motivation - when you're running with other people, the run is often the highlight of the week. If you're training for competition, it's the upcoming races that drive you out of bed for early morning runs or all-weather tempo sessions. If you're running to clear your mind, you'll always find some time to lace up your running shoes.
But now we find ourselves in a situation where running is different, more difficult, or - in some cases - forbidden. The question is, what do we do now? In this article, we'll explore how mindfulness and the ancient philosophy of stoicism can help us lace up and get out the door or make the most of what's inside. The spread of COVID-19 is unlike anything most of us have experienced before. And many people are wondering how to respond to such a fundamental change in the way we live our lives. You may wonder how running can help with anxiety. if it's possible to run for mental health. Many people wonder how running can help them with anxiety. whether it is possible to run for mental health. Others look for ways to maintain fitness when all gyms are closed and team sports are banned. Running can be a great way to improve mental and physical fitness. The Stoic would suggest that we be flexible and adaptable. So if you have a running schedule that you follow, it may need to be adjusted to fit the current situation. Instead, perhaps lace up your trainers for mindful running or treat yourself to a running meditation. When we say mindful running or running meditation, the concept is to use a run to clear your mind. And that starts before you get going. Take a moment before you start to close your eyes and breathe deeply - through your nose and through your mouth. Let the mind settle. And as thoughts come into consciousness, let them float like clouds across the sky. Focus on your breath. When you feel ready, open your eyes and take your first steps. Walk lightly. Of course, some people might prefer to do a hard session. But to calm your mind, an easy run is probably better. As you run, keep your head up and look around. Let the things you see fill your consciousness and just let the thoughts pass. In this way, you benefit from a form of meditation as you focus on what is around you, the sensation of running, and the rhythm of your breath. In some cases, walking is not possible at all. Some places are completely closed off. People have children they can't leave home alone while they run. In these cases, the stoic philosophy still applies. Practicing yoga is a great way to clear the mind and build strength and flexibility when we can run again. The same is true for some core exercises. Everything you do now will contribute to your fitness and pay off in the end.
Some suggestions to get the most out of your solo runs.
- Carve out a specific time of day for a run (or home workout) and keep that time sacred. Exercise is really a great antidote to anxiety, so make it a really important part of your new routine.
- Make sure you are wearing the right clothes and footwear for your run. Being uncomfortable is a distraction and at this point, you want your mind to be as clear as possible.
- Running without audio distractions allows you to focus on your breath and take in your surroundings. Pay attention to the sounds of nature, especially when you get to a park or the countryside. Feeling close to nature is said to be a great mood booster, and the sights, sounds and smells are all part of feeling connected to the world.
- Try a new route. If you're used to taking the same route every time you run, use this time as an opportunity to take a different path (although you shouldn't get lost). Seeing more of the world is a great way to lift your spirits, and the run will feel more like an exploration than a workout.
- Pay special attention to your surroundings while running - look for interesting architecture or the beauty of nature to remind yourself that we live in a wonderful world.
- Above all, be kind to yourself. Talk positively to yourself about the fact that you are on the road. By exercising, you are taking care of your body and mind. So smile and thank yourself for walking out the door.
( Copyright: Translated from Like the Wind magazine in collaboration with Lululemon )