10 Reasons to be a Running Purist

Wow…I haven’t blogged in ages! I have to apologize for my lack of posts in the past week or so. I am back to school in Chicago and have been busy getting my classes figured out and my life back in order. Half marathon training is still under way and going great. I ran 7 miles today and felt awesome. Training has without a doubt increased my appetite. I have been FAMISHED! I’ve had like 5 meals already today :)

Alright, so I consider myself a “running purist.” Why? Because I prefer to run outdoors, devoid of music or noises. Just me, my shoes, my breath, and the sound of my feet rhythmically hitting the pavement. When I started running more often a couple summers ago, I almost always had my iPod strapped to my arm, jamming out my favorite tunes. But sometime last summer, I reached for my music before a run only to discover that my iPod was out of batteries. I was totally bummed and really considered not running, but decided that if I didn’t do it then, it wouldn’t happen. While I pounded out my miles, I realized how nice it was to not have the noise; to not have someone else’s voice in my head. I’ve never gone back to using my iPod on outdoor runs. Here are ten reasons why you should become a running purist, too!

10. Focus on your breathing. I never realized how little I paid attention to the rhythm of my breathing going in through my nose and out through my mouth. I often suffered from side aches or muscle cramps and realized that they were a direct result from poor breathing practices. When I don’t have music in my ears on my runs, I can think a lot more clearly about my breathing techniques.

9. Safety. I tend to run on more secluded dirt roads and random paths when I am at home in Colorado. I love the more intimate feeling that this slight seclusion brings to my runs. I love not having to worry about cars driving by or people watching me. But my mom often gets worried about me out there running alone. And she’s right. With music as a distraction, it would be very easy for someone to sneak up without me noticing. Running in silence allows me to stay aware of my surroundings.

8. Friendliness! So now that I’ve talked about scary people coming up behind you while you run (sorry if I made you paranoid!) ;) I have to discuss that fact that there are MANY friendly runners out there. Sometimes the brightest part of my day and of my run is seeing another runner out there sharing my love for the sport and my love for nature. A smile and a wave, sometimes a quick hello, are great things to share with each other. I never want to miss the chance to talk to someone on a run, and I know that music as a loud distraction might make that happen.

7. Pace control. Often, when a really fast song was pounding in my ears, I matched the pace of my legs to the beat of the music. This would sometimes cause me to wear myself out near the beginning of a run and not have the endurance to finish my run as strongly as I would like. I find that I am more likely to keep a constant pace when I don’t have music influencing my steps.

6. Reflection. My outdoor runs have become one of my favorite times to really think about myself and my goals. It’s a time when I can focus on what’s going on in my life, reflect on problems and discover solutions. It’s also a great time for me to think about my running goals. I love knowing while I run that I am doing something good for my heart, lungs and muscles and that it will be well worth it in the end. It keeps me motivated and prompts me to make more goals for myself.

5. Posture. This kind of goes along with consciousness of breath, but focusing on posture while you are running is very important. When I am free of music and other distractions, I can focus on holding my body upright and swinging my arms correctly – not across my body.

4. Companionship. In the past, when people would want to run with me (my mom, my sister, etc) I would feel a little hesitant about agreeing because I was so accustomed to my routine of running to music. However, as I started to run more with my mom this past summer, I realized how much I truly love having a running buddy. Having someone to chat with, to help you with your pace, and to encourage you along the way is awesome. I know that talking to someone is definitely not a “noiseless” environment, so you may miss out on some of the focus and reflection time I spoke of earlier, but I think that it is valuable nonetheless. Sometimes you just need a buddy!

3. Avoiding injury. Okay, maybe I am the only one who struggles with this, but when I am listening to music while I run, I tend to pay WAY less attention to my surroundings. I may miss a crack in the sidewalk, a large rock, or a change in surface and in turn end up falling flat on my face. Once again, just running in silence and focusing on my run is the most effective way that I have found to get a good, safe, and comfortable run.

2. Appreciating nature. Well, I live in Colorado…so if you have to run on the busy streets of New York City, we may not share this advantage…but running outside [especially in the summer] in CO is gorgeous! After doing a couple of silent runs that used to be accompanied with music, I realized that I was looking around a lot more, enjoying nature and experiencing my surroundings in a much deeper way. I observe more of the beauty of the outdoors when I’m focusing on my run and not the beat in my ears.

1. God time. Believe it or not, my runs have unleashed some of my best quiet time with the Lord. While running, I sometimes pray, sing worship songs in my head, or just reflect on some areas in my life that may need His help. I have to admit that I am bad at setting aside quiet time for God on a daily basis, so runs have turned into a perfect time for that. I feel so close to him while I’m enjoying his creation and thanking him for my healthy and equipped body. Running is such a blessing!

During the winter I am forced to run on the treadmill (and I am regrettably currently training for my half on the treadmill – GROSS!) and I have to admit that I almost always listen to music or watch TV while running. Running inside makes it much harder to practice pure running techniques. But I will never again bring music into my outdoor runs. Once a purist, always a purist! ;)

Any thoughts on the matter?

I hope you all are having  a LOVELY weekend! I promise I will post again soon.

P.S. I bought this today…

Designer Whey Chocolate Protein!

Can’t wait to try it! :)

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