Freedom To Run - Ease, Efficiency, Speed

Jon Burdon, Chi Running and Chi Walking instructor based in England and Wales

Freedom To Run - Blog

This blog is all about my journey with Chi Running. I try to discuss all aspects of the practice. I also write a book review for every book I read about running. Please DO post comments below - you don't event need to have an account - just leave your name :)

Reasons I Run Every Day

Reasons I Run Every Day

 

30th Nov 2018 finds me at the milestone of running every day for 2 years. I thought it was time to explain a bit more about this.

What is the challenge?

I run at least one mile every day. I don’t use treadmills and I don’t run inside. This means I have various different 1 mile loops from my front door – trail, flat, uphill, and in various directions. When I would normally have a rest day in my training programme I just pick one of my one mile routes.

There has been a lot written about the mental health benefits of running. Running every day is essentially about learning to make positive, life fulfilling, healthy choices. It's about learning to say YES instead of NO, learning to drop the excuses. These choices affect you mentally as much as they do physically.

 

I have run

 

So, why?

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Gradual Progress - Step by Step

Gradual Progress - Step by Step

I've written several blogs on this principle before. I just keep coming back to the belief that this is one of the fundamental cornerstones for runners, and wanted to put this right at the top of my list for client advice in the next phase of my coaching. I meet so many runners who have broken this principle. If that's you, don't be hard on yourself, it's really very easy to misjudge and there are a lot of people out there who seem to believe in the old paradigm or the 'push push push, mind over body' approach.

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The Mindful Athlete, Secrets to Pure Performance, by George Mumford

The Mindful Athlete, Secrets to Pure Performance, by George Mumford

Chi Running is purely and simply, in my view, a way of moving mindfully - being fully mentally present in the body and using mental focus as one of the primary ways to improve our running. How do we maximise the positive effect of mindfulness to improve not just our well being, but our level of performance in running? 'The Mindful Athlete,' by George Mumford tackles the subject brilliantly and is sure to become a classic. It's an absolute must read for anyone who is an ambitious runner, and is interested in exploring the mental aspects of the sport. I think we all know that so much of our performance in running is 'all in the mind,' but actually unpicking how to hone our mental landscape can be very slippery. In my experience there are several interrelated pathways here. For example many people, including myself, have benefitted greatly by using sports psychology approaches such as Neuro Linguistic Programming, or other techniques from modern positive psychology. Some people seem to just be born with a huge level of grit and determination - a 'race winning' kind of mindset. My personal feeling is that developing mindfulness based habits has the potential to revolutionise a persons athletic potential. It is my preferred method of 'sorting out my head' as a runner in the long term.

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Finding flow

Finding flow

Last weekend I was on a quiet retreat in Northumberland. After spending a while participating in a discussion I went for a run before night prayers. It was one of those moments when everything flowed and came together. Everything outside was totally and absolutely silent and still. It seemed like all my senses were heightened. I could smell the freshly cut hedges. The only thing I could hear was my own footsteps. I could feel my breath as it filled my lungs and it seemed that I was tasting the air even within my lungs. It seemed more nourishing than normal. As I ran i quickly became able to relax deeper and deeper into a state of joy. I even raised up my arms for a moment out of happiness. Then I just relaxed more, finding balance with my posture line and enjoyed the journey.

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Run for your life

Run for your life
A friend mentioned Dynamic Running Therapy on facebook a short while ago and when the book title 'Run for your Life' grabbed my attention I was immediately hooked. This book, subtitled 'mindful running for a happy life' brings running and therapy together. We seem to be scared of the therapy room (for some reason) in this country. If this is you then you will love Dynamic Running Therapy because it gets you outside! You can also learn the techniques on your own, with a carefully chosen running (therapy?) partner, or through the app. The environment itself has healing qualities, and so does moving through it, so us runners are off to a great start when it comes to mental health. The book explains how to harness and maximise the potential of the healing qualities of running.

As a Chi Runner, I'm always looking for ways to develop mindfulness approaches when I'm out running so it wasn't long before I got in touch with @pullentherapy on Twitter for a tweet based interview. Here are the results.

 







(Sorry for the typo - I meant two words that really strike a chord.)


















I hope you enjoyed reading the conversation as much as did talking to William. I also hope this has encouraged you to look again at the mindfulness element of your running. Mindfulness is right at the heart of Chi Running. Chi Runners believe running can enrich your whole life - not just whilst you are running. As Justin Whittaker puts it here: http://www.onbeing.org/blog/chirunning-a-sitting-meditation-justin-whitaker/

" It's a lot about mindfulness of the body and really feeling what's going on, learning appropriate posture and then relaxing into it. "

I personally think that's just the tip of the iceberg in what Chi Running has to offer. I use regular and specific mindfulness based exercises whilst I running. It's great to be able to add a bit to my collection of techniques. I think it's safe to say I will be blogging more on this subject. If you have any interest at all in mindful running, or in using running to improve mental health then give this book a read.

If you would like to explore this area more, get in touch, or book on to one of my Mindful Fitness Weekends. If you are interested in finding out more from William Pullen about his book and his therapeutic approach, his website is here. I also recommend reading Running with the Mind of Meditation which I have also blogged about.

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Where to find me

 

I live in the Holme Valley, near Huddersfield and on the very northern edge of the Peak District National Park. Workshops are in venues easily accessible from:

Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, Liverpool, Huddersfield, Halifax, Wakefield, Barnsley, Cumbria, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and North Wales.

 Imonhandpickedtrails



Mountain Training
I am a qualified Mountain Leader, registered with the Mountain Training Association.

Photos of the Holme Valley Landscape are by Andy Leader of Made in Holmfirth

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UKA Leadership in Running Fitness qualified.

I'm UKA Leadership in Running Fitness qualified.