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What I Learned From Running Unplugged

It's rough to have a goal for a training run and not make it. I've certainly had my share of off days, but usually it was kind of a one off and I bounced back pretty quickly. However, in my post last Thursday, I discussed how I'd been repeatedly hitting a wall around 4 miles into my runs. That really put a damper on runs that I planned to be 6 or more miles. Consequently, I noticed my motivation dropping rapidly when it came to running so I knew I had to change up my plan somehow.

My solution was to run unplugged for a while. No podcasts, no route tracking, and no automatic updates on my pace or distance. I did this for a few 3 mile runs this week and the mix of shorter planned distances with not being as concerned about my pace and exact distance helped me get back into a mindset where I want to run more. Completing all of a three mile run that I set out to do makes me feel a lot better mentally than completing four miles out of a planned 6 miler.

Before this week, it had probably been months since I ran much by myself without listening to podcasts and longer still since I hadn't at least tracked my distance and time. Granted, I know the distances of my usual routes, but removing the timing component had a significant impact on my mental approach.

Running without listening to podcasts or anything also helped me to focus more on my breathing and the way I'm running. I got into the (bad?) habit of counting my breaths years ago, but I've recently found that counting as I breathe helps me to zone out while I'm running sometimes. I've read lightly about zen running and how breathing is a big part of it which also informs my upcoming post about meditation in my series about morning routines that's coming up on Tuesday.

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