Relaxing on the run

When we’re not out running a race, I dedicate my Sunday runs to long, slow, drawn-out distances (more commonly known as LSD’s). It’s a time to be by myself, get time on my feet and just relax. But on my run this morning, I began to notice how tense I was. When I walked the dreaded hill up passed Cumberland, I felt incredibly guilty for walking. As I headed down the beautiful tree-lined Elgin Road, I kept checking my watch and calculating time. What for?

I eventually stopped, breathed and re-examined why I was out running in the first place. It wasn’t to get a PB, so why the rush? It wasn’t to do any speed work or hill training, so why the guilt? I consciously had to slow down and start my run over again, ensuring I was doing so with the right frame of mind as I ran.

I found today’s experience similar to when I go for a spa treatment. Numerous times throughout the session, I have to actually tell myself to relax. And when I do, I can feel my body calming down and unwinding, but I need to do this a few times. It seems as if I’m constantly wired and uptight. Relaxing does not come easy to me.

Is it just me or does anyone else feel as if the lives we live today have become so stressful, so tense that we are in a 24/7 state of anxiety and tension?

Running definitely allows me to release some of that worked up tension and really gives me the time and space to think (and over think) everything that’s going on in my head. But every now & then, it’s good to stop and examine the reasons for doing something in the first place.

So as I stood on the pavement and took a deep breath, I slowly started running again. I promised myself that my Sunday runs were all about me giving back to my body and to relaxing my mind. But mostly to be out there enjoying myself.

Just run

I must say, the rest of my run went much better. I decided that although I love posting my runs to Strava & Facebook, it might help to leave the watch at home every now and then. If only to relax while I run.


Diagnosis: Plant a flower

I’m feeling pretty exhausted at this time of year as I’m sure everyone is. So when my friend Melanie asked if I’d be interested in trying out a session with reiki master, Brent Feinberg, I thought, yeah… why not. I have no previous experience of reiki. In fact, my biggest concern was that my parents would not approve of it (it’s kinda esoteric) and my even bigger concern was what to wear.

For those not familiar with reiki, according to Reiki FAQ, it is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

So I lay back and Brent first started with BodyTalk and then the reiki. The tapping of my head and chest was followed by various hand gestures and hand hovering all over my body. I stopped peeping and slowly started to drift off to sleep. If I was not supposed to fall asleep, no one told me but I found it quite difficult to stay awake. An hour flew by so quickly and I was quite dizzy when it was all over.

My diagnosis: The good thing is that my energy levels are very high. Brent says he can pick up that I am happy and healthy. *really?*

He did suggest however, that I try to be a bit more grounded and recommended I do some gardening. Not large-scale, but his thinking is that I go away and plant a flower or two. I like this idea. A lot.

He added that I am a very kind person to others, but not kind enough to myself. He also picked up that I was pretty hard on myself. *True*

The session reminded me of a conversation that I had with my dietician recently. She said, “Eating well is not enough Bron. You need to feed your body in other ways too.”

Especially in today’s times where we are living such stressful lives. Everyone needs to find that something that recharges their minds and their bodies.

Coming home after a stressful day and heading out for a quick run or even going to gym allows me to de-stress and unwind. But what I realised after my reiki session is that I also need that something extra that relaxes / calms / balances both my body and my mind and allows me to just let go.

What’s your secret?