Yesterday was a bad day for me. There were issues at my day job that got me very frustrated and angry, but before I even went to work I could feel anxiety(non work related) and a bit of depression building inside of me.
When I woke up this morning I was feeling a little bit better, but there were still some lingering effects from the anxiety and the frustration and the depression. The most notable side effect when this happens is a cluttered head.
It feels like my brain is submerged in a fog. Too much noise gets on my nerves. And I can not concentrate on anything. Even listening to a podcast while trying to run was too much for me.
So how do you clear your head when it is so cluttered that everything gets on your nerves?
For a lot of people the very act of running is a form of meditation. But I like to take it to the next level.
This is where a trail comes in very handy. Use a trail that is relatively flat and not technical. When you are out in the woods you are not going to have traffic or crowds interfering with your run. But if you can not get to a trail or if there isn’t one close enough, try to find some streets with as little traffic as possible. Few intersections are also good so you can keep moving.
Music or no music?
If you are on the trails, and there is not a lot of man-made noise around you, going with the ambient sounds of nature is always good. But if you do decide to use the iPod, go with music that has no lyrics. I like to use the score from movies. The instrumentals from some composers really flow through you and make you get lost in the run.
Use tunnel vision.
Don’t use this run to site see and observe the world around you. Instead use tunnel vision to focus on a few feet in front of you. Allow everything in your peripheral vision to blur and fade away. Focus on getting to the spot a few feet ahead of you and then a few feet ahead of that and repeat.
Slow steady pace.
This is also not the time to go hard. Start at a very slow and easy pace. Focus on staying at that pace and reaching the point ahead of you that your vision is focused on. Your breathing and your pace should both be easy.
Now do your best to think about nothing except your run. Focus on the spot ahead of you, control your breathing, keep the pace easy and steady, and if you are using a musical score allow it to flow through you.
When I went for my run this morning I focused everything I had on the run. I did my very best to keep my head clear and keep my pace steady. Outside thoughts will enter your head, but let them pass like clouds in the sky and focus back on your run.
When I have meditated while running, I have always finished my run feeling extremely better than when I started my run.