Effortless running

Yesterday I went for a run, initially thinking I’d go for a quick three mile down the Embarcadero. As often happens when I run, I hit a good stride, and I decided I wanted to go a little farther — 5 miles. For the first three miles, I was making a pretty good pace for me, about a 7’30” mile. What’s interesting is what happened at mile 3. I finished listening to Marketplace and put on some music — that may have been key to what happened next.

Anyway, around mile 3, I started feeling really good. I mean, incredibly good. I felt almost like I was flying, like the feeling you get when you’re dreaming of flying. I felt a state of calm, mastery, and effortlessness. I was running faster, but it didn’t feel like I was pushing harder. It barely felt as though I was pushing at all. I felt like time had slowed down, like I could hear the music really well, and like I had time to think about things like my posture. I relaxed my shoulders as my yoga teacher is always telling me to do. I paid attention to the placement of my foot, trying not to strike too hard and trying to make sure I wasn’t putting my body into an awkward position. I was smiling, consciously but authentically. My pace picked up to around 6’50″/mile.

Around 4.5 miles, it started to feel like running was slightly more effort again, but I found that I could maintain that feeling of effortlessness with only a few cracks. I finished the 5 mile at 36’13”, which is not my best time, but it’s pretty good for me. Miles 4 and 5 were 6’53” and 6’45”, respectively.

So I’m really curious about how to reproduce this flow state I got into while running yesterday. It was certainly a nice feeling, and it may improve my running as well.

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