Have Fun Exploring While Running
It is so easy to get caught up in being focused on everything we have to do and things we want to accomplish that sometimes we don’t allow ourselves the time, or space in our brain to just have fun. Even with our running and walking programs. While I am sure that most people reading this will say “I enjoy running … therefore I have fun” I just wonder — how much more fun could you be having?
This morning, just as I was about to start running I suddenly remembered a conversation I had recently with a friend who had just returned from vacation. She had told me how much she had enjoyed exploring the places she had visited by virtue of just putting on her running shoes. She said that if she had been in a car she would not have been able to observe, absorb and experience the new surroundings at a comfortable pace. When I am running by myself I usually focus on my running form but today I decided to take a vacation and observe, absorb and experience.
A few minutes later I was in a neighborhood that is off my usual running path. Isn’t it amazing how surroundings can impact your mood? At home when we’ve changed things around by decorating or painting the walls I feel brighter and more inspired and today, just by running a totally different route I found myself feeling more alert and adventurous. Occasionally I would check in with my running form, making sure I was holding my running posture could feel my midfoot strike, but mostly I enjoyed looking at the different architecture of the homes I saw and I even took a few walking breaks to get a better look at some of the gardens where bushes were still flowering.
At one point I found myself at the foot of a very short hill — just 25 yards or so and on the spur of the moment I decided to practice my uphill running technique. I did six hill repeats. It was so short and I was feeling so energized it would have been easy to have got lured in to some power running, but I was true to my ChiRunning form. I concentrated on a short stride and on my arm swing — using my upper body with my focus on the tips of my elbows swinging forward instead of backward. I also worked with my breathing to expand my chest cavity. At the crest of the hill there was a building very close to the street with two doors — one a deep but bright burgundy and the other a lively green. They were happy colors. I made the doors my goal point on my hill repeats because I enjoyed seeing them so much. Every time I would start running uphill I knew there was a reward at the top.
Finally, I found myself on a street that took me back to familiar surroundings. Although my total running time was fairly short (45 minutes) it felt like I had been gone for longer as I had covered new ground. If you are traveling to visit family or friends over the holidays I encourage you to explore your new surroundings by running. And, if you are staying home trying running on a new trail or in a different neighborhood and tell me if your fun quotient doesn’t go up a little.