Most people who run do so with earbuds in, and even a smartwatch of sorts on to track their heart rate and how much they've run. While it might seem wise to have such items on you while running, some believe that ditching them will create a better running experience.
According to GQ, so-called "mindful running"- the practice of focusing on how you feel while running- helps with relaxing runners who usually focus on breaking personal bests and beat themselves up if they don't achieve such goals. Mindful running encourages runners to enjoy the act of running, as well as understanding how your body handles the sport.
Mindfulness has been attached to other activities such as yoga and meditation, but not as much with running. Still, this is a practice that will allow runners to enjoy what they're doing at that moment. It will also force them to focus less on being the best because mindfulness encourages thinking about yourself for a change.
There are several steps one can take to practice mindful running. Experts stress that taking baby steps will make the process less painful—this means start with getting rid of music, and then begin mindfulness once you get used to the former. Mindfulness includes using mantras that encourage the mind to focus on the task at hand. This will help you want to run because it'll seem like a less daunting task with mindfulness at the helm. Most importantly, however, is how a runner can learn so much from mindful running. This includes appreciating any small victories that come with doing it because you're focused to judge your performance yourself instead of, say, relying on your smartwatch.
The biggest step when practicing mindful running though is to just give it a shot. This can be done whether you work out at a gym or in the comfort of your own home. The easiest way to go about this would be by concealing the treadmill console with a towel, keeping your phone on silent, and trading ear buds or headphones in for a pair of earplugs.
So the next time you're about to go for a run, it might be wise to give mindful running an honest try. It might be vastly different from what you're used to, but it just might be the eye-opening experience you need to change how you run from here on out.