Run the Mile You Are In…I do not know who quipped these wise words, but they have been especially helpful to me in regards to my run training of late. In fact, when I consider how useful this mantra has been for my running, I realize that this idea easily transfers into my non-running life too.
Whether putting in the miles for long road races or technical trail races, I often find I need to avail myself of this wisdom. Run training cycles can wear on a runner’s mind as much as the miles wear on the body, and I find I am most tempted to quit a run when facing those tired, anxious thoughts during long solo runs. However, now that I have added this mantra to my runner’s tool box, I have discovered a powerful implement to beat off negative run-thinking.
As many runners will attest, the power of a well chosen mantra can allay and repurpose unproductive thinking during a hard run. This mantra has become my new best-friend and a powerful antidote for run-weary thoughts. When I focus my mind on these words, I am firmly re-connected to my body as it moves in the present moment. From this present perspective I settle my breathing and my pace and I find it possible to relax my grip on the unknown, which is measured in miles to go until I finish.
Savor the quest, not the finish. The Cool Impossible ~ Eric Orton
Thoughts of the unknown are always projected onto the movie screen of the future. The minutes, hours, and days which we cannot physically inhabit, become the playground for bullies who taunt our imagination with fearful images of ourselves as incompetent, inadequate school yard failures.
This driving need of ours, to know what we cannot know, has the potential to strip us not only of physical energy but also of happiness and joy for the journey we are currently running; whether it’s the next 100 feet of uphill trail or the next blank page of a manuscript which needs to be filled with narrative, story and conviction.
Every race is a question, and I never know until the last yards what the answer will be. Long Run Solution ~ Joe Henderson
It’s funny how this one little mantra has taught me something about thoughts well chosen; about how thoughts have no power over me except to distract me into believing them as true. And I have become keenly aware of the importance of choosing quality thoughts, because quality thoughts produce quality running and quality living.
When I direct my thoughts to inhabit the moments of now, they clearly have their effect on me. When I run in the present mile, I have focus and strength and breath for each step I take in the present mile. I do not, I can not, and I will not worry about whether I’ll have breath or strength for the miles ahead. I am training myself to just keep moving…for now.
From this perspective I am able to focus my mind and body on the powerful physical movements I am making towards my finish line, rather than wasting precious energy entertaining ideas of what I may not be able to accomplish.
My run training has taught me that as my body responds to the training effects of physical repetition and practice, my mind likewise improves its ability to inhabit and reflect on the current moment rather projecting itself into the future.
I feel silly admitting that at 50+ years of age, I am still learning how to live positively in the reality of the present, fully inhabiting all the moments which make this time now. But here’s the beauty of learning how to live in the land of now: with every step and stride I take, I grow in confidence that my breath and legs will be adequate for the journey…to carry me through the mile I am already in.