"Isn't it boring?" or "What do you think about" are common questions I hear from both running and non-running friends. The answer to the first question is NO, it isn't boring. To answer the second, here are the top 5 things I think about while running.
1. RUNNING. That's right, while running most certainly I will think about RUNNING. The pace I am currently moving, the distance I am going, how far I've already gone. What am I training for next, what event or what distance? How does my body feel? How is my breathing? Is this better than yesterday? What is my cadence (how many steps I take per minute)? Should I speed up or slow down? What route am I taking? You can definitely fill up a run, simply musing about running!
2. FOOD. O yes, food glorious food. While you are burning up around 100 calories per mile, the mind will wander to food. If you are running on an empty stomach, your time is well spent imagining or planning how you will refuel. A yummy omelet? A large slice of pizza? Perhaps a hearty, healthy salad lathered in a creamy dressing. Of course, more coffee or a hoppy IPA. The options are endless and more delicious post run. On the other hand, if you made the questionable decision to go for a run immediately after gulping down a chorizo burrito with extra spicy habanero salsa, your happy thoughts of food may quickly decline into nightmares about where to find a restroom.
3. TO DO's. Typically I start my runs early, sometimes before dawn. A unique sunrise and an entire busy day of activity lay before me. The run serves as a perfect ambience for writing your mental daily planner. Whether it's work, play, shopping lists, chores or everything in between, the quiet time afforded will help set up the next 12-16 hours of life. The list of To Do's gets sorted out and prioritized to the pitter patter beat of your feet.
4. Problem Solving. It is rare the occasion that you begin a run and return from it with the same worries or problems. Yes, the pile of laundry will still be there when you return or the boss will still need that job finished by 5 pm sharp. But somehow, it all changes shape on the run. Suddenly the huge obstacle becomes a stepping stone, the dead end becomes an on ramp to an interstate. Something about the simplicity of moving your body in such a primitive of way allows the mind to find solutions to life's daily problems.
5. DREAMS. The storms seem to rage on the run. Not rain or snow storms although that happens at times. Rather it's BRAIN storms that will unexpectedly arise. Without intent, ideas bubble forth as the sweat lathers up the body. You will find yourself solving world problems or imagining up new adventures. Where will I go? Who will I meet? What is the invention to make me a millionaire? The solitude spent wandering through quiet streets of suburbia or the leafy trails of a damp forest will cause your mind to both Wander and Wonder.
It is said that running is 90% mental and the other 10% is in your head. You will never run out of thoughts if you are out on a run. Embrace the occasion, run in the moment, run today, and always...