I wrote a few weeks back about long duration, low intensity aerobic training, and probably got into it a little too deep and waffled on too much…
As I mentioned in that last post, aerobic training is one of the many tools I have been using to build myself back up from illness, and the majority of this work has been in the form of running.
My runs vary anywhere between 40 to 90 minutes in length, and I aim to keep my heart rate below the 155-160 bpm mark to stay in Zone-2, the go all day gear. Every run is different, but they all help me to grow in some form or another.
I thought I’d highlight some of the main benefits I that have personally noticed on my running adventures so far:
1. Physical Benefits.
The obvious ones. Increased aerobic fitness. Quicker recovery. Stronger legs and core. More efficient movement. Reduced body fat. Hopefully a reduced risk of chronic disease… All great health promoting things.
When I’m running, I get a chance to focus on my breath, and give my mind the opportunity to be still. Sometimes it’s a bit like moving mediation. After about half an hour in, the chatter in my mind begins to quieten. Any anxiety and worries begin to melt away, and I’m in the zone.
3. Self Evaluation.
Other times, my run can present an opportunity to reflect on the decisions I have made, the habits I am forming, the relationships I have with the others around me. It can be a time where I am self critical, and figure out which aspects of my life I need to improve upon. Where I’m heading, and where I want to go.
Most of the greatest ideas and inventions were created in solitude. Many of my ideas for the blog, or future business plans come to me on a long run. Sometimes it frustrates me that I don’t have a pen or pad to hand…
5. Being in Nature.
I’m lucky enough to live quite close to the mountains, where there are some great routes for runs or long hikes. Whatever the weather, it’s nice to breathe the clean, refreshing air; and get a bit lost in the wilderness. To disconnect from the hustle and bustle of modern life, and reconnect to where we came from.
Never before have we had so much access to information. It’s awesome. There are so many great audio books and podcasts out there, and sometimes I love sticking some on when I run. Without doubt, my favourite is The Rich Roll Podcast. Occasionally I’ll also throw on the No Meat Athlete Radio, Philosophize This, JRE, or Zen Habits.
7. Go Slow. Be Patient.
As I said, on most runs I aim to keep my heart rate in zone 2, to ensure I don’t overdo it and fill my legs with lactic acid. You can read a little more about that here. This sometimes means that I have to walk if I come to a hill, which is a difficult thing to do for me. It’s against my natural instincts. But it’s good to practice. It’s helping me dissolve the ego, and the notion that I always have to ‘go hard or go home’.
Running can be a great remedy to the stress of everyday life. If something is bothering me, usually by the end of a long run my mind has sorted things out. I feel much calmer, more peaceful and balanced. Not all the time, but mostly.
By tracking my heart rate and distances on MapMyRun, and occasionally performing the same run over; I can see how my fitness levels have improved. Some people need to see progress to keep them on track.
10. Connecting With Friends.
I usually run solo, but occasionally I’ll head out with a friend. It acts as a great time to catch up and have an extended conversation that may otherwise be quite difficult to fit in. I feel like exercise really brings out the most authentic version of yourself – it reveals who you truly are. So I feel like you can connect with people much more so than you would under ‘normal’ circumstances.
Why do you like to run? What has it taught you?
Thanks for reading!
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