3 essential keys to runhappiness

I didn’t run far or long yesterday. It was by all means a “normal” day in a number of ways except one.

My stats told me it was simply average in pace, time, distance, elevation fluctuation, everything. My clock told me it was the same time of day as my usual routine give or take a few minutes. The weather wasn’t anything special or anything severe. My route was a standard go-to route I’ve run a hundred times. My gear is what it always is: old and worn. I ran without music, but that’s a regular morning thing for me, especially when it’s dark. I ate a familiar dinner (spaghetti) and drank a familiar wine the night before. I was well hydrated as is my routine of loving the H2O.

So, if all that was my norm, what was so different?

I felt great.

That’s right, I felt fantastic both during the run and afterward. It’s not too often when I finish a run and haven’t noticed the time or distance, haven’t felt real tired or uncomfortable or a slight nagging pain somewhere. It’s safe to say that it is a rare feat to find that zen run. The run where all notions of body, mind, and time, vanish and legs simply carry the rest of the mass of molecules through space from point A back to point A is the ideal run.

And I think I know the keys to that runhappiness. They are surprisingly simple, yet sometimes difficult to achieve or are fleeting and ephemeral in nature.

Rhythm

Finding that trifecta of a rhythm where breath and foot falls and body motion sing in harmony to settle into a balanced pace makes the run musical. I didn’t need music in my ears yesterday to find runhappiness because I found (or just happened to fall into) an ideal rhythm. My motion-action-reaction was synced and the resulting mixology of run sound was perfectly fluid.

Relax

Once in that rhythmic run, it is important to relax and give in to it without overthinking or adjusting or tweaking to maintain it. It’s one of those things where upon finding that perfect rhythm, if you think about it or acknowledge it, you’ll lose it. Relaxing into a run and allowing the legs to carry you, the arms to balance you, the heart to propel you without interference from the mind is where runhappiness resides. Relax, don’t think.

Reflect

The rhythm was a perfect pitch, I relaxed into the run, and then I reflected upon it. I always jot a quick note down in my Adidas miCoach app immediately after the run. I reflect on where I have been and how I got back to where I stand. Reflecting on the run, both the zen run and the run that’s nothing but a war, is what allows me to adjust and play with my approach the next time out. Looking back allows me more opportunity to look forward with positivity and optimism that the next run will be better.

Knowing the keys to runhappiness and understanding how to cease hold of them each and every time out are two very different things. Yet I figure if I have held that feeling before, though it may slip my grasp the next time (or next many times) out there, I can grasp it again. And chasing down runhappiness is part of the adventure.

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