Every time I run I try to find a way to distract myself so I somehow forget that I’m running. I have been moderately successful. Sometimes music works, sometimes putting on a good podcast will work as well. But neither of those work all the time, or for an entire run, and my dependence on being distracted ends up completely throwing me off.

Since Christmas I have been having a hard time getting back into the swing of regular workouts. As I no longer have a regular work schedule my routines are all off, and I learned long ago I work best on a routine. I go out for runs or swims sporadically when it has been a while or when I feel motivated. But with my recent registration and hefty deposit to the Boston Athletic Association, I no longer have the option to skip workouts. Image

I head out for a run this past Saturday and decided to go without my phone for several reasons. The first is just that I feel too connected all the time, so I try to go on phone breaks. I guess it’s a little sad I have to force myself to do this. The second reason is what I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Depending on methods of distraction to get through the distance is not sustainable. I want to get closer and more connected to my running, to hopefully achieve what I feel when I’m swimming. I’m trying to listen to my body and feel the rhythm while running. I ran about two miles, and I am logging it as a success as I have not run in several weeks. I ran two miles without music, without a podcast, without a tracking app. I just ran. I listened to my breathing and I listened to my feet hitting the pavement. I looked at each building in the neighborhood I thought I knew so well and I wasn’t trying to close myself off to the bustling Saturday crowds. I almost punched a lady who refused to move to one side of the sidewalk, but other than that, it was a really lovely run.

When I started running with the Couch to 5k program in October, the music was the only thing keeping me moving. And I do believe that I needed it to start. But now, now that I know that I can physically run two or three miles, I don’t need to plug in and try to distract myself from getting into it. The only way I’m going to be able to run faster, or longer distances it to dive in headfirst and work my butt off. Being there, present, in the run is going to help me get there; distracting myself and focusing on songs I’ve heard a million times before will not.

We all need to find what works for us, so don’t be afraid to take chances and change something you normally do. Just don’t do it on race day!