Just yesterday’s workout, while Alandi was running on the Assualt Air Runner, I told her to “be mindful while you’re running”…. meaning, I wanted her to really connect with what her body was doing and how it was moving, rather than just mindlessly putting one foot in front of the other and watching the meters tick off. Earlier today, while Helen and I were running on the Contra Costa Canal trail to Heather Farms and back, I reminded her of the same thing, where and how her foot is striking the ground, and the act of actively “grabbing” or “pulling” the ground underneath her hips on each step. After finishing our workout, James and I talked about the often overlooked mental aspects of training. An hour later when I opened up my laptop, this article, from GQ, How “Mindful Running” Can Help You Run Faster Farther and More Peacfully was one of the three “Recommended By Pocket” articles that popped up on my homepage! I felt compelled to share!
While this article seems to focus on mindful running to simply enjoy running more, my standpoint has been more to improve running technique/efficiency, which could be looked at as improving performance… but then again, more efficient running can also simply mean more enjoyable running!
And while this article just talks about running, the same concepts can be applied to CrossFitters, albeit a bit more difficult as there are SO many stimuli that you must tune out. I was speaking with Zach a few days ago, after he did the workout “Chief” for the first time. He was a little bummed because he felt he went through the entire workout a little too conservatively. I explained to him that while he may have left a little, (or even a lot) “on the table”, as long as he was mindful of how his body was feeling throughout the workout, the training session was a success. For a relatively new CrossFit athlete, it’s important to take note how you are feeling (heart rate, breathing, muscle burn, perceived exertion etc.) and how it is currently relating to your power output…. i.e., my quads really started to burn on rounds 8 and 9, and soon after I had to break the 9 air squats into sets of 3’s. While being mindful is important to competitive CrossFit athletes, always looking to improve their performance, it is also those of us just looking to get fit, stay healthy, and look great! The better you move throughout your workout, the less likely you are to sustain an injury, also, by keeping yourself on a workout pace that is slightly out of your comfort zone, but sustainable, will allow you to leave the gym feeling great, and looking forward to your next training session.