The stress of running
I am a runner at heart. I am more than a fair-weather runner; I run because it allows my mind space and my body solid physical movement, although laterally the joy of pounding the payment as they say it somewhat liberating.
Running has taken me on a journey; it’s been with me when I simply found the joy of movement, the joy of progression and the joy of signing up to my first running event knowing I had absolutely no idea what I was doing (I’m sure more than one of you can relate??).
It’s been there in my darkest moments too, when I saw running as an escape from the stressors of life, when I ran to forget about my day or help prolong the day even beginning, I saw running as my lifeline, as the ‘thing’ that kept me going.
But when running was not there to prop me up due to injury, where did that leave my mind? Or as a matter of fact, my identity? You read a lot about people running to de-stress carrying out a very stressful activity to calm themselves, slightly ironic, isn’t it? But running despite the force behind it does allow you to somewhat destress, it allows the mind to quieten (that’s after you have shhhed the monkey mind) and if you are mindful enough, it allows you to find the flow of movement when the body and mind are blissfully connecting & working together.
That was me, I ran to destress because I worked in a highly toxic workplace so when I got injured or took it to the next chapter, removed myself from that workplace, where did that leave my running? I was no longer motivated by hatred and frustration so what was my driving force?
The simple question of “If stress was not helping you find your flow in running, what was it?” Freedom.
Freedom to move through nature, through big cities or suburban streets with an appreciation of what the body could do. And if you were to train the body and I mean, focus, find consistency and structure imagine the pure freedom you would find then. Beautiful thought, isn’t it?
Recognising that falling back in love or even in love with running again purely for the pure joy of it; for the freedom of movement and for the peace it brought simply from the surrounds I was running in escalated the need to run just a purpose but a lifestyle.
Running is described as “the action or movement of a runner’ or ‘the action of managing or operating something’. Lets’ go with the second noun…..operating something.
We are in control and performing a function or ‘operation’ this is what most run sessions are about; especially if you are training for a goal.
Born to Run
Most runners would have soaked up the hype when Born to Run by Christopher McDougall was released in 2009 (that long ago, wow). A book that delved deep into hidden Indian tribe called the ‘Tarahumara’ discovering super athletes who might just teach us Westerners something about speed, pace, and endurance.
You see what made these runners so special was what fuelled their running; nature and nourishment; in this instance both went hand in hand. Survival and protein; all it took was hours of running and chia seeds it seemed! There was no mention of running to destress because stress was an innate part of the body; this what gave them their superpowers; it was just there it wasn’t something that they tried to run away from, it was something they ran with.
Running to calm the mind
Conscious movement is what I encourage at Planted Life; it’s how you improve your running, how to get through a 5km or even a 50km run and it’s how you understand how to further feel into the body.
Being conscious allows you to quieten the mind and body; for they are not interconnected. They are one.
I have many Planted Runners say they run because they are running with or away from stress however I am here to change that narrative and to remind them, so when that stress is taken away what is driving your running? I am teaching all my Planted Runners that they are running for their survival, their freedom and for the pure joy of putting one foot in front of the other.
Are you ready to explore your Planted run journey?