Feeling the Joy of Running

running joy

So I’ve been transitioning to barefoot running and yesterday I had a little breakthrough in my running. It wasn’t an faster time. It wasn’t improving my form. It wasn’t increased distance. It was a mental shift and it was wonderful. It was pretty powerful and I think you might want to try it!

Trouble Getting Going

In addition to yesterday’s minor physical challenge, I was having some hormonal challenges too. The last thing I wanted to do this morning was run. What I wanted to do was crawl back into bed, wallow in my hormonal misery, and wait for it to pass. But luckily I talked myself out of that option. (I tried it yesterday and it didn’t work! :-))

Instead I looked at it scientifically at first, noting that there was the “possibility” that the endorphins from running might be able to counteract the down feelings from my hormones. I said to myself. Let’s just try this as an experiment. Go slow and see how it goes. You’ve got nothing to lose but misery. So I said yes to this option.

Then once I was running I was able to free my mind from my worries and think about running. I thought about the book I’m reading right now called “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall where he talks about this elusive indigenous Tarahumara tribe that lives in Mexico. They literally run every where they go, young and old alike. We’re talking the 80 and 90 year olds run too. It’s part of their culture and history. It’s fascinating. (Go check out the book!)

Focus on the Joy!

The part I was keyed in on is about WHY and HOW these folks run. They run for the joy of it. They find joy in all they do. They live a very non-modern life that sounds wonderful. They don’t really walk. They run. And they enjoy each moment of their life without judgments. They actually drink a lot of alcohol too and don’t have the best diet, but they are healthy, long-lived, and happy.

So I thought about how the Tarahumara tribe runs for the sheer joy of it and how when I tie certain outcomes to running, I kill off some of the joy, actually, a lot of the joy. Things like: timing my run, feeling an obligation to run, being concerned with distance, and tying it to some future payoff such as weight loss or desired body appearance. I decided today to simply run and feel the joy of running, like a child does.

I didn’t time myself. I didn’t think about or judge my distance. I didn’t obsess over whether I was burning fat and inching toward a better body. I didn’t think about form.  None of that.

I simply ran and experienced the joy of it. I drank in the wind in my face. I felt the awesome sensation of moving my body over space. I allowed the exhilaration (whether true or not) of feeling like I was flying, without imaging a video of myself and how I actually probably looked to passers-by. I just allowed myself to experience the good feelings without judgment.

It was awesome. I highly recommend giving it a try. Heck, maybe I can carry over some of this into other parts of my day, but I digress.. 🙂 (No judgment, no judgement, love, acceptance, feeling the joy, ahhh, now that’s better, joy, smile, yes, joy.)

How About You?

Any experience with this yourself? I would love to hear about your experience or thoughts!

See you in the comments or maybe you prefer to chat on Twitter or Facebook. The links are all below.


photo by: bigibigi

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