Although racing is a great way to stay mindful of goals, it's easy for many runners in training to become overly fixated on numbers and statistics. Hit a popular running route and you'll observe people constantly glancing at their GPS-enabled watches, heart-rate monitors, and other stat-spewing gadgets.
These tools are great for tracking training regimens – they also often make you forget why you took up running in the first place. If you feel burned out on the minutiae of lap times, interval training, tempo runs, and other clock-driven running styles, it might be good to disconnect from your watch and just enjoy the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other.
Some people call this meditative or Zen running, but no matter the moniker, it centers around the idea of being present in the moment and not agonizing over a few lost seconds here or there. Instead, you can focus on the sound of your breathing and footsteps, feel the air moving in and out of your lungs, and concentrate on a fluid, hypnotic pace that makes you think less about mileage and more about the beauty and freedom of simple movement.
Zen running may also help you step back from your obsessive pursuit of a personal record and just appreciate the fact that you're able to run at all. Many people have disabilities, injuries, and other obstacles that prevent them from taking up the joy of running.
If you're one of the fortunate people who can enjoy running but feel encumbered by all of the trappings of expectations and statistics, meditative running may be the perfect way to connect with your inner Zen master.
Read on to see how changing it up burns more calories.