Like Forrest Gump I am not a professional runner. I am not even very sporty, active, mean and good looking or anything like that. Maybe I am much more like you – someone willing to give running a try – but on his own rules.
I don’t believe in rules and strategies for the perfect way to run. I don’t even believe that there is one reciept that fits for all.
I rather like to pick up the idea of Forrest Gump – simply start to run, without a goal, without beating the clock, rules – simply starting to run over the next hill, and then maybe over the one there in the distance, with an empty mind and with only few intentions…

I write on this blog while I am running – literally – with voice notes. While I am learning how to run I will note my experiences, where the pitfalls and tricks are that I have met and what successes I have met along the way.

Well – this is one of the better known obstacles for running beginners. You know that situation: you start running and your mood is high. Everything is new, maybe the sun is shining – there are a lot of things that catch your eyes but after a while you look strait ahead and you find yourself just at the very beginning of a long, long road. The next corner seems so far away and the worst is – it is not coming nearer at all. The best visual representation of this effect I have seen was in the movie “Contact” with Jodie Foster where she as a little girl runs down a corridor to fetch her dady’s medicine.

This is the “long road ahead” effect that every runner must face, especially in his early training days. Your head is saying you that you cannot make it to the end of this road, it is too far away. Your head is arguing with each step you make. It starts with a low voice and the picture of the end of the road – so far far away. After a minute or so you look up again and you see that the end of this road is not coming nearer at all and you get the feeling that you are not making any progress.

Some people fail at this stage – they stop running and feel exhausted. Others press on, try not to look at the horizon and sometimes they make it but often they don’t because this voice in their head is really conceiving. After some experience it is getting better because you know that you can make it – you made it the other day, so why shouldn’t you do it today? That may be fine but for beginners this “long road ahead” effect is a real problem. So – what can you do about it?

A simple solution is not to look up at all. Stare on the ground 40 cm in front of you, don’t rise your head. Keep your eyes down on the path in front of you so near that you can’t look at the horizon but still far enough away to notice any upcoming obstacles or persons. Another way is music. Your walkman, iPod or whatever MP3 player you might have is hammering away with a good and motivating rythm and you concentrate on the music not noticing this long long road any more…
While this is fine there is another way to cope with this effect that can be a good learning experience to keep your mind clear and under control.

Concentrate on your thoughts. Just look at them as a spectator. Do not argue, do not attach to any feelings, just watch your thoughts. Maybe it can be helpfull if you imagine yourself flying above your running body watching your thoughts. The essence is that you detach yoursel from what you are thinking. Your thoughts have no more power over you. You will continue running whatever your inner voices are telling you.

This is pure meditation – just the essence but that is enough to experience the power of meditation while you are running at the same time.

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