Spring is in the air
Finally, it seems that Spring is in the air and we have some sunshine at last and running has all of a sudden become much more pleasant.
This month I would like you to think about all of your senses when running – this is sometimes called ‘sensory running’ but I think it’s an excellent way to connect with your surroundings and think about your whole running body in a way that should help you also be more ‘mindful’ too.
Sight – a good opportunity to also focus on your posture, and rather than looking at the ground – try to focus on ‘looking ahead’ into the distance, this will give you a better posture, but allow you also to see all the amazing sights around you (including all the spring bulbs and blossoms appearing now).
My top tip is to look for colourful things as you run, for example – look for all colours of the rainbow – a red car, an orange cat, a yellow daffodil etc.
Smell – Not only can you tune into the smells around you – this will not only waken up your smell senses, it will allow you to take in some more breaths of fresh air.
My top tip is to ‘flare’ out your nostrils and breathe deeply into your belly for a count of 3, then breathe out hard and slow for a count of 3 – do this a few times when you have just run up a hill to calm your breath.
Taste – we all know that being dehydrated is not good for us – and staying hydrated is one of the keys to being able to run further and for longer – if you feel thirsty when running and your sweat feels very salty – you are probably in need of more fluids.
My top tip is to make your own sports drink – add a dash of lemon juice, squeeze of maple syrup or honey and a twist of pink salt to 500ml of water and sip throughout your run. You will need to experiment with the quantities and what tastes nice in the middle of a run.
Hearing – being alert when you run is key at any time of the year – especially if you are running near roads – which is why I don’t recommend wearing noise cancelling head phones when running near traffic. Some people run with music or audio books in their ears – but I recommend that you only do this when well away from traffic and you still have the ability to hear in full (bone conduction head phones for example).
My top tip is to ditch the headphones – head to a local park and really listen to what’s going on around you – try to tune in with your breathing, heart rate and the sounds nearby. How many different sounds can you hear ? (birds, ducks, cars, aeroplanes, children playing, dogs barking)
Touch – when we are walking or moving, its not only our hands that are able to ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ things around us, the soles of our feet ‘feel’ the ground beneath our feet, and we can feel the sunshine (or rain) on our skin.
My top tip is to find a park or somewhere with different surfaces and run on the pavement and then some grass – what do your feet tell you about the surface? Is it soft, is it hard and how does it feel to run on different surfaces if your eyes are closed?
Proprioception – often called the sixth sense – this is your body’s ability to sense movement, action and its location in relation to itself. You don’t need to look at your feet and see where they land on the ground – to be able to walk, your whole body works together – connecting the brain with the muscles and joints.
My top tip to experience proprioception for yourself is to stand still, close your eyes and stand on one leg – what do you notice about your body – are you able to balance, did you wobble? Any exercise that we can do on 1 leg is very beneficial to runners and being aware of your body in its space is also very helpful.
So there you are – some things to try out on your next run – I would be really interested to hear how you get on with these and if they made your run any easier for you?
Look forward to seeing you out there running in the sunshine very soon.
Run Coach Angela