By Tuesday, this was already a long week for the United States of America. No matter what your views are, you’ve most likely experienced strong emotions as you heard negativity from all sides over the past few weeks(...months...year…). Maybe now more than ever, you’re looking for an escape. If you’ve ever gone for a run to ‘clear your head’, you’ll understand how restorative it can be. Here are five tips to make your run even more relaxing.
1. Forget about your training and/or goal pace for the day.
If you’re training for a race, let it go for one run. Let yourself focus on rejuvenation. Getting your mind back to a healthy place will do far more for your well-being, and ultimately your training, than pushing it when you need a brain break.
2. Turn off your running app and leave the watch at home.
Don’t worry about mileage, your pace, your splits, your cadence, etc. Just get out there and run. Listen to your body and do what feels good.
3. Try matching your steps to your breath.
There are many reasons breath is so important during any type of meditation. Breath gives you something simple to focus on and helps to calm your heart rate. Try matching your breath to whatever amount of steps feels right. Focus on your steps, your breath and nothing else (besides keeping yourself safe while you run!). Getting lost in your breath can give your brain the perfect break and leave you feeling more calm and relaxed.
4. Bring only calming music.
For some people it sounds odd, but many elite athletes listen to classical music (or other types of soothing music) before or during their exercise routine. Many say that because of the calming effect it has on their brain and body, they actually perform better because they’re relaxed. Create a calming playlist to listen to on your run, or don’t bring any music at all. For some, having quiet music playing while they focus on their steps and breath is the ultimate calming experience during a run.
5. Set your intention and reinforce it with positive affirmations.
This might sound like new-age, hippie stuff, but you should definitely give it a try. More and more fitness and life coaches are talking about the importance of setting intentions and repeating positive affirmations. Our brains believe what we tell them. Remember the old saying, “whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”? If you want to clear your head, but set out for your run thinking about how frustrated and angry you are and continue to tell yourself those things, you’ll still feel them at the end. Here’s what you should do instead. First, set your intention. It can be something like… “I’m going on this run to clear my head and come back feeling more positive and happy”. Throughout your run, reinforce that intention with positive affirmations. Some examples would be… “This run is changing my outlook. I feel more positive with each step. I’m going to return to my day happy and alert”. Obviously these won’t work for everyone. Maybe you’d feel silly repeating those sentences over and over. Find what works for you. Maybe it’s as simple as… “I feel SO good!” or “This run is changing my day!” or even “My life is awesome!”. Something to reinforce the feelings you want to have when you return home from your run.
As you try to clear your head on your runs, you’ll learn new tips and tricks that work for you. We’d love to hear what you do to calm yourself down while running. Let us know here or on our Facebook page.