Running quote of the week

“I finished Boston last year with my hands over my eyes wiping away the tears. The people lift you up the entire race.”– Sam Ryan

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Inner enlightenment isn't improving my pace


Today's run (street): 4.25 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 3.2 miles

Those of you who know me personally will likely agree that I'm a pretty chill guy. Make that chilly. I get cold a lot. In terms of being calm and centered, I have a way to go. I recently read an article in Men's Journal called the "The Distracted Man's Guide to Meditation" and have embraced what the author refers to as "focused attention" meditation. It's a very simple breathing exercise that reminds me of the primary karate form (Uechi-ryu sanchin) that I would often practice prior to a stressful meeting or presentation.

This focused meditation exercise takes 19 seconds, although it can be repeated as often as needed. Breath in for four seconds, hold for seven and breath out for eight. That's it. In a very short time, you will shift your focus solely to breathing and will release anxieties in the process. It works anywhere and doesn't require mantras, sitting in a lotus position or burning incense.

I don't mean to suggest that I've moved one inch toward self actualization by doing this, but it's a good in-the-moment tactic when things get stressful. The combination of this exercise and a significant reduction of sugar have both made a positive impact for me. Unfortunately, none of this has translated to an improvement in my running performance except in terms of much better stamina. And that's probably due mostly to weight loss.

Yesterday morning I went out for my Friday pre workday run. I got out extra early because I had to bring my car to the dealership before my meetings started. It was a typical workout, the early hour shielded me from the hot sun but the humidity was clear and present.

This morning started early, but circumstances prevented me from getting out until 8:30 AM. Although they were touting low humidity, I found plenty. My running has reached a new equilibrium point. I can run longer and more comfortably, but I'm not going any faster. When I think about things like stride length and cadence I'll see some short term gains. By and large, I'm still where I was a month ago.

Shortly after starting  my morning run, a car drove up beside me and the driver asked me if Stillwell Park was close by. I told him I wished it was (imagine if Stillwell's trail head started in my neighborhood) but that he'd need to drive a couple of miles to get there. I gave him directions that he didn't write down so I hope he was a good listener.

Since my Garmin FR210's strap disintegrated, I've been carrying it on my SPIbelt. It works, but it's difficult to read the display while running. Having it on my hip rather than my wrist seems to affect accuracy as well. Today it measured my run 4.2% shorter than actual (per Gmaps). I'm going to have to break down and get a new GPS watch. Any suggestions are appreciated.

2 comments:

  1. I read a similar article however, the focus of the 19 seconds of breaking was to help you fall asleep faster.

    Works for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. I tried using focused attention breathing to help me relax for sleep one night and the result was that I felt more energized. Maybe it was just the situation that night. I was pretty wired from the day.

      Delete

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