When I think about what I want from life, my mind is full of warmth, calm & simplicity.
The cliché of wanting eternal happiness is pretty unrealistic but equally a valuable compass for making the little things count. It’s something I’ve thought a lot about through this year and directed my efforts towards as much as possible.
What I've found on my quest is that I often come back to the most basic of recipes for pleasure. Maybe I’m easily pleased (I am), maybe I avoid complicating life (I do) but when I look after the fundamentals in life, life looks after me pretty well.
& it turns out, this recipe is applicable to running.
Running on trails gives me escapism, energy and fills my heart and soul with about as much contentment as feels humanly possible. It seems natural for me to want to look after this experience in an attempt to maintain longevity and keep cashing in on the happiness dose.
Trail running is often linked to numerical measures.
Time, distance, elevation.
They have their place, but they aren't the strongest values aligned with my sweet simple life.
Here's a few tactics that make up my recipe for running happy & keeping the fundamentals on track:
remove extrinsic influence & run in a way that feels right
when i run with very little intention of achieving time or distance, i find i'm able to get the most out of it.
adventure runs in lovely locations, stopping to appreciate the views and generally having fun is what allows me to keep my movement most consistent
surround yourself with a natural environment that is both soothing and energising
a few minutes on a treadmill is enough to reinforce the benefits of connecting with nature.
having the opportunity to run on trails is both relaxing and requires a level of focused attention
take a second to ground yourself and feel where your feet are
give your breath the focus it deserves
speaking of attention, make a conscious link between the air that fills your lungs and your ability to achieve physical feats.
that's something of an everyday miracle.
appreciate how your body moves
when you really tune into how your body feels, it's surprising how capable you are.
a mind-body connection of recognising positives and negatives is a great way to avoid overwhelm
fuel yourself with nourishment
if you want to move efficiently you need to be fed and watered
nutrition and hydration has a physical and mental impact on the body
what you put in counts
rinse and repeat to build consistency
gaining or losing fitness can be a time consuming business
figuring out what you love and doing it repeatedly can be the ultimate investment in your own wellbeing
introspect and reflect on your goals and aims
intrinsic motivators can provide feelings of accomplishment that facilitate better mental health
ponder your personal 'why's'
pay it back
gratitude can be expressed in many ways
be mindful of what you are getting out & give back in thoughts, feelings or actions
Running doesn't have to be statistics and data, complicated training plans and never ending countdowns to races.
In its simplest form, running can be an expression of movement with happiness in mind.
Next time you feel overwhelmed by your training, pause for a moment, reevaluate your recipe and make sure it's driven by your deepest values.
It's just one foot in front of the other.