Have you ever experienced "unexpected" tiredness while running? Has this ever happened to you? You have just started running and you realize that you feel really tired. Your body just doesn't want to move. You feel heavy, running feels very difficult and you don't know why.
You were not expecting to feel this way and you start to wonder why you do. Then your mind takes over and tries to justify why you feel tired. Maybe I did too much yesterday? Did I get enough sleep last night? Maybe I haven't eaten enough carbs? Maybe I should do a shorter run, and on and on it goes....
This happened to me recently and there was really no reason why I should have felt tired. I realized that my ego mind was taking over; and whenever that happens, the run is not going to be a happy one! Fortunately, I recognized what was happening and I found a way to distract my mind and overcome the feeling of tiredness.
Our ego mind quickly takes over every opportunity it gets! It is not going to help us feel better or run better. It wants us to go home and feel bad about making that choice, but that is not what is best for us or what we would like to happen. What we really want is to feel better, feel more energized and have a great run!
(However, if you really have been doing too much and you are not surprised you feel tired, you should stop running, go home, and rest! )
So how can we stop listening to these harmful thoughts before they sabotage our run? We want to quickly move into a happier and more energetic space. An easy, effective way to do this is to take the control away from our harmful thoughts and direct our mind downwards to our body and what's happening in it now!
So with this purpose in mind, let's begin a search. Let's see if we can discover where in our body we feel tired. Let's start with our feet as they are our best means of grounding and taking the focus away from our thoughts.
Focus on the soles of your feet and how they connect with the earth on each step. Really pay attention to how each foot touches the ground and then quickly lifts again. Do you feel any sensations of tiredness in any part of your feet?
Then, move your attention to your calves. Notice the movement of your calf muscles as they work and aid in the motion of running. Do you feel any tiredness in your calf muscles?
Moving up to your knees—give them your full attention for a moment or so. Notice their movement and check for the presence of tiredness in them.
Remember that we are not judging anything here. We are just curious about what we are feeling and experiencing. We remain completely neutral throughout this whole exercise.
“Flying starts from the ground. The more grounded you are,
the higher you fly.”
– J.R. Rim
Move your focus up to your quads and hamstrings. Again notice their movements and check for any feelings of tiredness while running. Continue with this process for your hips, glutes, lower back, stomach, chest, upper back, arms, shoulders and neck.
Now that you have finished your search and checking your body for the presence of tiredness, did you find it? Did you find the sensation of tiredness anywhere? You probably didn't find it anywhere in your body because it doesn't really exist there. It exists only in our thoughts and gets projected onto our body as feelings. Your body is perfectly fine. It is doing its job as it should and is just following instructions from our mind.
This exercise is very helpful when we are not feeling good while running and we don't know why. It works because we are making the choice to no longer listen to our ego mind. This is a decision we can always make for ourselves, our health and our happiness. We are directing our attention away from these harmful thoughts and bringing our mind to a quiet, peaceful and non-judgmental place. This is where all great runs takes place!
It is not necessary to slow down to practice this. If you begin to experience tiredness while running in a race, try the exercise described above. Its purpose is to take the focus away from harmful, self-destructive thoughts by putting our neutral attention on the movements of our body. Starting with the feet is helpful as it gives us a sense of grounding as we notice how we connect to the earth with each step.
After you have completed a scan of your body for tiredness while running, notice how you feel overall. You will probably find that you feel much better and running feels much easier. If you still feel some tiredness, repeat this exercise as you continue to run.
Have you tried this exercise to overcome tiredness while running? If you have, please tell us about it in the comments below.
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