Improve Your Runner's High
I saw Ekhart Tolle with my wife Jacque recently. He is an author and spiritual teacher, but you can find out more on him on his website. One thing to know about Ekhart is that he is not a “motivational speaker” or entertainer. He just talks. It took me about 30 minutes to be able to really hear what he was talking about because I was distracted by others coming in, being tired, and so on.
I noticed on a few occasions that I was really connecting to what he was saying. One idea that Ekhart discussed is that we tend to go through life focused on getting to the next point. We are rarely in the moment (present), but with our heads down working and thinking and pushing to get to that next point. This has been me in lots of ways. I remember as a kid being super excited about going to school. I watched my brother get on and off the school bus, and was excited about it. Then in High School I thought, “I can’t wait to get to College! It’s going to be so much fun and I am going to be on my own.” Then in college I remember thinking in my senior year, “I can’t wait to get a job and out of school where I will be independent and making a change in the world".” This pattern has continued from school to work and life. The first time I was put on salary and made 30,000/year I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle all that money! That was not the case, and I soon was looking for more.
Many of us think that once we get to this next point life will be good or happy. Then we can relax. I have experienced this through running as well. I get caught up in the end goal of the race and lose my engagement with the moment and the current training. The training becomes a means to an end, and it's like I am going through life just trying to get to the next race. I ran my entire collegiate career focused on the next race. I don’t remember ever thinking, “This is so cool that I am here.” I am sure I was able to find gratitude for qualifying for NCAAs and helping my team to a conference championship, but most of the time I was looking outside of myself to feel complete.
We experience the “runner’s high” and how awesome it feels to complete something so challenging such as a marathon or ultra marathon. After you finished your first half marathon you were stoked. How long did that feeling last? For me it might be a day or if it went really well maybe even a week. Yes, you can enjoy your accomplishments. How do you this without attaching them to your self-worth though?
How many of you experience the same thing. We actually only race a few times per year (marathoners + Ultra marathoners), and it dawned on me that I see the same patterns with many of the runners I coach. You can experience some runner’s high each day! Take a moment before each day or each run to be grateful for that opportunity. Focus on each day, each run, each workout in that moment. The less you stress about the next workout, or the last workout the more enjoyable your training experience will be. Yes you must plan and prepare, but we can do this without the unconscious stories spinning in our mind seemingly uncontrollably. See how this might change your daily experience, and feel free to comment below!