Living life with a downhill running mindset
I love running and living life! Running has taken me on some amazing adventures, to places so unbelievably eye opening that pictures simply don’t do them justice. Alongside these visually pleasing landscapes, with many different types of terrain, running has also taught me quite a lot about myself, and makes sure I’m truly living life.
After a recent conversation I had with a new client that I just started to coach I had a thought. Talking her through several key elements we all should focus on when running downhill, I started to draw many parallels about the advice I just gave and that of living life.
When tackling a steep descent, you must relax your entire body. If you are rigid and tense, this is will cause your feet to hammer into the ground, and increase the chance of your body breaking down in some way. It’s also quite difficult to flow in different directions if your body is stiff.
As we manoeuver through life, it’s important to stay relaxed, and flexible. If we are too rigid in the way we live our lives, and in our thoughts, there is little space to adapt when things don’t go to plan. Being so rigid in life can also restrict our ability to change when unexpected circumstances present themselves, and stop us from living life.
If you fear what could happen while running down a hill, or what it could do to your body, this will evaporate any confidence you have, and flood your body with stress. If you stay relaxed approaching a descent, while being optimistic, and removing that fear of “what if” then this will help you get to the bottom unscathed, and upright!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to have some fear to protect yourself, and fear can be a powerful thing if you can learn how to use it as motivation. It’s when fear stops us from living life that it’s time to think about addressing it, so we can live freely.
In my experience, fear creates a feeling of uncertainty, which can increase stress, stop us from living life, and at times, have an impact on decision making processes.
If you believe you are going to trip on a rock, you increase the chances of tripping on a rock because you will be constantly repeating in your head “don’t trip on a rock” rather than actually paying attention to where you need to place your feet each time they land on the ground. Believing in yourself, and your feet, can have a dramatic impact for you to negotiate past those rocks.
Many of us are far too focussed on the outcome of what we’re doing rather than the process. When goals seem far too large to obtain, we can lose confidence in ourselves, and begin to think we’ve no idea how to achieve our targets. But if we simply concentrate on each individual step of what we are aiming to achieve, and with a belief that things will work out, we may just begin to believe in ourselves a little more and feel our confidence grow!
Gravity will propel you forward when running downhill, so to keep yourself from falling flat on your face you need to have quick feet. Not only to keep you upright, but also to be able to adjust your stride length, or direction depending on whatever comes your way while descending.
If you’re living life at 100 miles an hour, or are simply just going with the flow and trying to stay upright at the same time, being nimble in your thinking, and in your actions will help you to dodge unexpected obstacles you may not see coming.
Being able to pivot, or adjust throughout life without it tearing up your self-belief, dismantling goals, or the direction you wish to head in, can be a beneficial tool to help you enjoy not only your large achievements, but also the little things in life.
Enjoying the wind in your hair, the sun on your back, and with a soft gaze to where your next few steps may lay as you run downhill can be an enlightening experience. A mind not thinking about anything except being in the present moment of running downhill is all that matters when taking on a steep or slight descent.
Sometimes I feel like I’m flying as I navigate my way down the side of a mountain; this is living life for me!
We live in the present, but how many of us are actually present so that we can truly live?
If we spend the majority of our time looking ahead to where we think we want to be or for potential obstacles, can we truly enjoy the time we have now, and are we missing the point of life?
We have multiple senses so we can enjoy everything around us, we can only do this if we let ourselves be content with where we are in life, be grateful for the very moment we’re in, and exist in the space between what we just did and what we are going to do next.
This is the essence of living life in my opinion!
For all the runners out there, I filmed this video a while ago with Kinetic Revolution’s James Dunne, I hope you find it useful when you run downhill!