Today I did something that I’ve never done before, I ran without the music and without a partner. To anyone that knows me they know that this is something very unlike me. I’m the type of person that if I get to the gym and I don’t have music I turn around and go home. Today however, I decided to run without music and without a partner to see what would happen. I felt I needed more from my run today. I was curious about how my body would feel, how I would do, and if I could connect to my body somehow. As I started my run I instantly knew that this is something that I would have to start incorporating into my running schedule. A soul run. A run that has a sole purpose of connecting me to my body, my soul.
I had no expectations for this run. I took my sports watch to track my distance and time, since I had to be done by a certain time to get the kids. As I ran, I listened to my body. I ran as fast as my legs wanted me to go. I slowed as they wanted me to slow. I took in the scenery. Watched birds fly, squirrels and rabbits hop away blissfully. I listened as the breeze blew through the trees and past my ears. I meditated on the rhythm of my footsteps and my breathing. Sometimes my breath was a bit labored, sometimes it came with ease.
I allowed my mind to wander wherever it chose, only calling it back when the competitor began to speak. It would urge me to check my pace, that wouldn’t it be awesome to let go and run faster than I’ve ever run by shear “coincidence”. To push myself up a hill and take it on. I hushed that voice, that was not the purpose of this run. This run was to connect with nature and myself. This was a run for my soul and nothing more.
We all have a different “soul environment”. What I mean by that is that we all have different environments that speak to us, put us at ease, relaxes us. For me, it has always been water. I love a river, lake, the ocean. The waves or the ease of the flow. Since I was young, I have always pictured myself in my prime (retirement?), sitting on a deck sipping my morning coffee and overlooking a large body of water. I am connected to it somehow. We all have a different place that speaks to us. The desert, nature, the city, mountains- our souls all connect to a different environment. Where do you tend to vacation? Where do you feel most at ease, relaxed? This is your place.
It becomes so easy to get fixated on training for a race, or running faster, farther, speed work, tempo. There are so many labels that go along with running. It’s all ok, we need those runs. We need to train and run our long runs, our tempo runs. It all has a place. In that process though, we lose something. We become rigid and lose that mind and body connection. I strongly feel that we need to throw a run to connect our mind and body. I am not talking about a religious thing, although it could be. You can use this to connect to a higher power or to simply connect with yourself. The goal is to just let go.
If you would like to try to Soul Run here are my tips:
- Run in an environment as close as you can to the one that you feel most at ease.
- Run without music. Listen to your surrounding, your footsteps and breathing.
- Run without a partner. You can begin a run together, but don’t run it all together. When you run with a partner one of you is running according to the other person. You lose yourself and the purpose.
- Run as far or as little as you would like. Seven miles felt great today, but next time maybe only 2, or 10. Run according to your body.
- Silence the competitor. Tell yourself to just feel the run. Don’t run at a certain pace. Just feel.
I would love to hear from you. Do you already run this way? If you try it, let me know how it goes. I will be tagging my soul runs with the tag #soulrunning Feel free to join in!! Thanks so much for reading!