Saturday, May 19, 2018

Running motivation: why I don't listen to myself anymore

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Every morning when I wake up, I lie there bracing myself to get up.

And every morning I tell myself:

'Today I'm nót going to run. I don't wanna! And I don't have to. So I won't.'

I used to fight that voice.

That voice that said she didn't want to run. I tried to persuade her but it never worked. So in the end I just got out of bed thinking I was not going to run that day.

And then something good happened.

The magic of running

When I get up I have to walk down two flights of stairs, since our bedroom is in the attic. I make myself a sandwich and I start work on my blogs.

After about 45 minutes of this, the magic happens. I get this itchy feeling. A feeling that I want to go out for a run! This feeling makes it really easy to put on my running shoes and my running clothes and head on out.

This is why I don't listen to myself anymore

This is why I don't listen to myself anymore, when I tell myself I don't want to run that day. Because I know I don't need to.

In the end I will go for a run.

So now when that voice says, she's not going for a run I just say: 'Yeah yeah, I know. You're not going for a run. That's okay.'

Because I know it'll be alright.

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Power Song: the power of music!

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power song for runners

A power song is a song with a strong motivational power. Hence the name 'power song'!

So it only makes sense that a power song can come in quite useful during a run. If you're using the Nike+ iPod Sensor you can even program a Power Song to start playing in your hour of need. You know, that moment when all you want to do is stop running? Your power song is only one push on a little button away. And if it's a good power song, it will make you want to start moving again.

My favoriete power song

Mijn favorite power song is 'Is this the way to Amarillo?' But I also like Emmylou Harris's song 'I was born to run'. Whenever I hear it during a run, I feel I'm an embarassment to the song if I don't run. You can't be listening to 'I was born to run' and just wander about! So that always gets me running again.

My favourite part of this power song is: 'I was born to be fast, I was born to run.' I know the first few words are a big fat lie when it comes to my running prowess, but I don't care. It makes me wanna run!

Power Song: use the power of music

The power of a power songs lies in the power of music. Research has shown that music has a powerful effect on running. Here are some of the results:

  • Music makes you faster

  • Running while listening to music is easier than running without music. Because music takes your mind off of your left brain's messages: 'Why are you running! Stop! For the love of God!'

  • Happy music makes you feel better, and that makes running feel better. So don't you go listening to Mozarts requiem during a run!

It wouldn't be fair nót to admit running while listening to music also has some drawbacks. You're less aware of your body and surroundings, while listening to music. So the great advantage of running with music, is also the big drawback. It all depends on your perspective.

Power Song: not every runner's cup of tea

Power songs do not have a powerful effect on all runners! It depends on the kind of runner you are. Associative runners won't benefit from a power song. They focus on their body. Music would only get in the way of that. But your average runner is a disassociative runner, and uses music to distract and motivate herself.

What's your power song? What song compells you to move?!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The taming of the mind

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Many a runner has said it: 'Running calms my mind.'

Lots of runners use running to clear their minds. After a hard day at work, or dealing with whiny kids, running soothes the nerves. But there is another, well-known method of calming the mind! And that is meditating.

Unfortunately almost everyone who has tried to meditate has had the same problem: as soon as you sít down, your mind starts rúnning. Often in circles.

That is why I find it easier to calm my mind by running than by meditating!

The effect of meditation is permanent. The effect of running is not.

But then I read Sakyong Rinpoches Mipham's book 'Running Buddha'. Sakyong Mipham is a Buddhist monk, who has run lots of marathons. In his book Running Buddha he joins running and meditating together. His message is clear:

Movement is good for the body, calm and stillness are good for the mind.

Do you want to tame your mind, or just exhaust it?

Mipham compares our mind to a wild horse. He acknowledges the calming effects of running on this wild horse aka our mind. But when we run, the horse becomes calm because we exhaust it. It's tired. But it's only a matter of time, before it gets its second wind and starts running again.

You haven't tamed your mind, and you don't control it.

So you'll have to go for a run again, to exhaust your mind. Again. And again.

The calmness that is achieved by running is only temporary. But the peace of mind achieved by meditating is permanent. Because by meditating you táme the wild horse/ your mind.

I found Mipham's view absolutely fascinating. Now I really want to tame my mind! Because unfortunately my mind is a lot like the horses in this video.

Hów do I tame my mind: start with your breathing

Miphams writes he's not an expert on running, even though he has run lots of marathons. His book Running Buddha is all about using meditation in your runs. Mipham starts with easy to follow instructions like 'concentrate on your breathing'. And as the book progresses the instructions get harder. At least I thought so. In fact if I'm really honest: I didn't get further than focussing on my breath.

But that's alright!
Like learning to run, learning to meditate takes time.

And my mind is a wild one!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Running shorts in MacGyver shorts!

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kalenji running shorts

Now that it's spring I love to wear as little clothing as possible during my runs. Which is why I bought myself a new pair of running shorts. A Kalenji baggy short trail to be precise.

MacGyver Running shorts

I call them my MacGyver running shorts because they have 6 pockets! For those of you who don't know MacGyver, MacGyver was an American action-adventure television series. Every episode MacGyver saved the day.

What made MacGyver so special was that he could make something from nothing. You might say he might only need a twig, and he could build a getaway car with it.

These shorts are just as handy as MacGyver!


kalenji trail running shorts

kalenji trail running shorts
I've run several times with them, and they are great. They don't ride up and they're very handy. They come with inbuilt panties so you don't even have to wear any underwear if you don't want to.

Practical information about the Kalenji running shorts

These Kalenji running shorts are available at the Dutch and English online shop Decathlon. They cost about 15 GBP.

I can highly recommend them. I even bought a second pair.

What do you wear during your runs in Spring?

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Running and dogs: the dazer

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More annoying than the dogs themselves, I find their owners who stand by with a tender smile on their face, while their dog is molesting me.

'He won't bite you!'

they'll say, while their dog is aiming for my ankles.

He never normally does that!

And when dogs, who obviously haven't read that memo, sink their teeth in my calve anyway, the owners usually say accusingly:

'He never does that!' 

This statement is often accompagnied by a look that says: 'You must have asked for it!'

The Dazer

So when I heard about a little apparatus called the 'Dazer' I was delighted. 'Just one push on the button of your dazer and the big bad dog will run away!' the company states.

I wonder if it works on their owners too...

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Stressed out? Go for a run

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Often people look me meaningfully in the eye, put their hand on my shoulder and say in the voice usually reserved for the severely ill:

'Why don't you take up meditating? Or yoga?' 

And they give me this little tap on the shoulder.

I suppose I sometimes come across as being quite stressed out...

Thinking of yoga gives me a rush of adrenaline!

But just the thought of meditating or yoga is enough to give me a rush of adrenaline. The idea to sit somewhere quietly makes me want to scream!

Luckily running is a form of meditation! The repeating movement of legs and feet have a meditative effect, and fresh air and nature have a calming effect too.

Running offers natural stress relief

So I'll just run my impatience and stress out of me, and run my way to rest. Running helps me get rid of the excess of adrenaline coursing through my body.

It's a natural way to become a more calm and peaceful person.

Source image: Shutterstock