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The Art of Mindful Pacing in Running: My Personal Story

Introduction:


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Running is not only about covering distances; it's also about rhythm, breath, and self-awareness. Mindful pacing, a key element of mindful running, elevates this experience, transforming each stride into a conscious and intentional movement. In this blog post, we'll explore the art of mindful pacing, shedding light on how it contributes to a more enriching and sustainable running practice.

Understanding Mindful Pacing:


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1.Syncing Breath and Steps: Mindful pacing begins with syncing your breath with your steps. As you run, pay attention to the natural rhythm of your breath and try to align it with the cadence of your strides. This synchronization creates a calming and meditative flow, establishing a harmonious connection between body and breath.

2.Listening to Your Body: Mindful pacing involves tuning into your body's signals. Be attuned to how your muscles feel, any areas of tension, and your overall energy level. This awareness allows you to make real-time adjustments to your pace, preventing overexertion and promoting a sustainable running experience.

3.Finding Your Natural Cadence: Rather than fixating on a specific speed, mindful pacing encourages you to find your natural cadence. This is the pace at which your body feels comfortable, efficient, and in sync with your breath. It's not about racing against a clock but about fostering a connection with your body's innate rhythm.

Benefits of Mindful Pacing:


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1.Injury Prevention: Mindful pacing reduces the risk of injuries by preventing overstriding or excessive stress on joints. Listening to your body's cues allows you to adapt your pace and avoid pushing beyond your physical limits.

2.Enhanced Endurance: By maintaining a mindful pace, you conserve energy and enhance endurance. Running becomes a sustainable practice, allowing you to cover longer distances without succumbing to fatigue.

3.Mental Clarity: Mindful pacing extends beyond the physical realm; it influences your mental state. Running at a mindful pace promotes mental clarity, reducing stress and promoting a focused and meditative mindset.

Incorporating Mindful Pacing into Your Runs:


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1.Start Gradually: If you're new to mindful pacing, start gradually. Allow yourself to become accustomed to the sensations of syncing your breath with your steps. Begin with shorter runs and gradually extend your mindful pacing practice.

2.Use Technology Mindfully: While fitness trackers and apps can be helpful, use them mindfully. Instead of fixating on pace goals, use technology as a tool to gain insights into your natural cadence and energy levels.

3.Interval Training with Mindful Pacing: Incorporate mindful pacing into interval training. Alternate between periods of faster and slower paces, maintaining mindfulness throughout. This dynamic approach enhances your adaptability and mental focus.

My Personal Story:


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As you know, about two years ago now, I experienced the worst onset of my autoimmune disease. My hormones were out of whack, I was swollen, couldn't think straight, and began to feel like a stranger in my body. My personal story with my autoimmune disease is here.


Prior to the onset of my illness, I was able to run on the treadmill, unphased by the speed or incline I was running at. I often ended my runs, not because I was tired, but more so bored from watching the numbers go by on the treadmill. Once I began to heal, and bring the inflammation down in my body, I was able to get back to running. I was determined to get right back into running as if my body hadn't just faced the most taxing year of its life.


I remember the first time I got back on the treadmill, I was so excited, so ready to just run four miles faster than ever. I thought to myself 'I gave my body a year of rest, I should be able to do this'. Well let me tell you, I was humbled real quick gasping for air after just two minutes running. Part of me was frustrated, part of me was determined. I knew I was going to have to work myself back up to being able to run the distance and speed that I used to. I began running at least three times a week inside on my tredmill, but felt beat every time I got off. I wasn't experiencing that same rush of endorphins I used to after ending a run. And the most frustrating part was that it felt like more of a chore than an outlet for stress relief.


I decided to change my routine up, and started running outside. Immediately, I saw a difference in the distance and pace I was running at. One day, I decided to track my run and was beyond surprised with the progress I had made. I thought maybe I could incorporate some indoor runs back into my routine, but noticed my stats weren't as impressive with those when I would run outside.


I slowly started to realize that running is more mental than physical. From the second I would get on the treadmill, I would feel a sense of anxiety pour over me. I'd think to myself, what if I cannot go as fast as I did yesterday, what if my legs get tired at mile two and I quit before I finish the three miles I was determined to run". The anxiety was so taxing, that I would not settle into my run and find a natural cadence. When running outside, I was able to zone-out, and just run. My mind relaxed, my heart rate was more stable, and the endorphins started to come naturally. I would end my runs with a sense of accomplishment, even if they were not the best.


From this, I challenge you to take just ten minutes one day, lace up your shoes, and head outside for a walk. For the first three minutes, focus on just warming up your legs. Briskly walk, and then the next two minutes jog. Rest for one minute, jog for two, and then walk the last two minutes. The next day, take eleven minutes, lace up your shoes, and head outside for a walk. For the first three minutes, focus on just warming up your legs. Briskly walk, and then the next two minutes jog. Rest for one minute, jog for three, and then walk the last two minutes, and so on, until you hit fifteen minutes.


That is fifteen minutes of relaxation and cardio that you probably didn't think you could do, especially while being on a treadmill at the gym.


Conclusion:

In the tapestry of running, mindful pacing emerges as a thread that weaves together physical endurance, mental clarity, and self-awareness. Embrace each step as an opportunity to connect with your breath, your body, and the present moment. The art of mindful pacing transforms running into a mindful meditation, inviting you to savor every stride in the beautiful symphony of movement and breath.

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Hi, I'm Amanda, founder of Damngoodthyme. I'm so glad to have you here!

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