Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Trance State Running

Consciously we run. We take one step and then another. We keep doing this until we get into a rhythm and our subconscious takes over. In other words, we start to run automatically, without thinking. At some point during the run our conscious mind starts to take over again with both positive and negative thoughts about what is going on within us and around us. On a positive note, we might be saying what a nice day it is and how I feel smooth and comfortable. On the negative side, we may be complaining how it’s too warm and that my body is starting to break down and get tired. I bet you can guess who usually wins out and takes over. It reminds me of a story told by a old Cherokee Chief to his grandson:

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

“One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

“This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Unfortunately, we usually tend to feed the negative thought process. It’s the one that more times than less tells us that we are tired, our body is hurting, and it’s time to slow down or quit. Most of the time, we listen and slow down the pace or even start walking.

What we don’t realize at these moments of turmoil is that we have just lost a mind game against ourselves. We took a thought (my body hurts), believed it, and then gave into it. What’s remarkable about this is that the mind is stronger than the body. What your mind tells your body, it believes. It believes this even though, in most cases, it has more in the tank and is not ready to slow down or stop. So how do we get it to keep going? Simple, we just tell it! Okay, maybe not so simple, but it’s a process of reframing your thoughts to be more positive. For example, “The weather is good, I’m running strong, and I can keep this up.” Or “My body is strong and will take me through.”

Once you have reframed your thoughts, the next step is to turn them off. This is the difficult part. Everyone is capable of running subconsciously, that is, running automatically without a conscious thought. You’ve all done it. For example, you may have been on a six mile run and took a little time to get into it, to get comfortable. Once that happened, let’s say around two miles in, all was good. The next thing you know you’re at mile five. You had no recollection of what happened between mile two and mile five. Remember these runs? It’s a great feeling, although a little confusing. Well, here’s what happened between mile two and mile five. At some point your conscious mind turned off and you went into what is called a trance state. This is a state of inner absorbtion, where you experience hightened focus and concentration. At this point your subconscious mind takes over. The subconscious mind controls all of your automatic behaviors. In this case, moving your arms and legs in rhythm, breathing in a controlled manner, keeping your pulse rate steady, sweating, etc…

You’ve run like this so many times before that the subconscious mind has taken it in as important, stored it, and made it an automatic behavior. So while your conscious mind turns off (lets go of control) your subconscious took over and kept you going without missing a step. This state of mind kind of just popped in. It happens to us all of the time, especially when driving. Same concept. Those times in your car where you don’t remember the last few blocks or miles, but you arrived at your destination safe and sound. You’ve driven so much that your subconscious took over while you turned off your conscious mind (clutter) and did what it knows how to do, push the gas pedal and break, stop and go at appropriate lights, stay in your lane, etc…

So in order for us to be able to turn off our minds while running, we need to train ourselves to go into these trance states. Is it possible? Yes. Can everyone do it? Yes. Certain people will be able to do it for longer periods of time. Some may only get a small/short benefit.

Ever notice when you’re running with someone the time goes by much faster? You don’t notice those little aches and pains as much, you don’t notice the faster pace as much. You’re focusing on something else (conversation) that is more powerful or important at the moment. You’re aches are secondary. Are they still there, probably, but your mind doesn’t allow it’s presence. The same thing happens when you fantasize on the run. I know you’ve all done it. Whether it’s winning a gold medal, a road race, beating a competitor/rival, or just hitting a certain time. While you are occupying your thoughts, your body is running.

The key to Trance State Running is to guide yourself into this state. You tell your subconscious mind, with self hypnosis, what you want to accomplish (6 miles at a comfortable pace) and then you go out, turn off your conscious mind or distract it, and run.

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