Run Recap: Connecting

I started getting tired on my run today. It was perfect weather — overcast, dry, and around 40 degrees. I was doing a short distance but pushing myself faster than usual. It felt good to be working harder than my typical slower pace, but my lungs were getting a little tired. Suddenly, I was breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, long and sweet and just like when I am in downward dog on the yoga mat. I realized I had connected to my breath, something I have been working towards every day since January 1. Whether it be 10 minutes of yoga or an hour of road running, I have been practicing connection regularly for 18 straight days.

Breathing is, oddly, the hardest part of yoga for me. Whenever you are feeling lost in yoga, the teacher recommends to “focus on your breath.” That always kind of irritates me, because I would much rather focus on getting the pose right than on breathing, something humans constantly do without thinking. But I inadvertently focused on my breath during my run today, when my body suddenly began breathing differently in response to discomfort and pain. It was like the mindset I have been working towards on the mat finally solidified during the run.

I began to draw air in slow and let it out long, feeling the crisp environment enter my body and fuel it. The clean sky was becoming part of my lungs, each gust of wind part of what I was becoming. The outside air slid through my throat and nose and cooled more than the fire in my calves.

Instead of concentrating on finishing, I was focusing on breathing — something I have yet to master, but that moment makes me think I might be getting close. Or it is at least possible. It felt good to breathe that way, and reminded me that our bodies won’t do anything if we don’t give them the right tools. I also realized that part of why I enjoy yoga so much is because it is a great complement to running — running speeds you up, yoga slows you down. Running is a race, yoga is a place. Running breaks you to build you, and yoga stretches to heal you (and, for the record, my plantar fasciitis has barely bothered me at all since I started doing yoga at a minimum of three days a week).

I am glad that the two physical activities I enjoy the most marry so well. I am learning that I need both yoga and running to feel connected to breath, air, or anything at all.

7 thoughts on “Run Recap: Connecting

  1. Two things that most recreational runners forget about: 1. Breathing – any reasonable length run is using oxygen as fuel. Inefficient breathing = oxygen debt = hard work running. 2. Arms – they are part of the running equipment and are intended to balance out the legs. Consciously working your arms will take some of the work off your legs. So often I see runners whose arms are just “swinging around” and not contributing too much! Enjoy your “more efficient” runs. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. If I can run through Canadian winters …………………….! The hardest part of any winter run is getting through the front door. If you can win that battle, the rest is not that difficult. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s really not the blast of cold air that is the problem – you can dress for that. The problem is simply the mind set! The problem is purely psychological… which comes down to a question of reality. How important is it for you to run?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicely-written. I like how you contrast running and yoga (“Running is a race, yoga is a place.”) Love that line! I’ve had a similar experience with cycling and Pilates. Cycling is so exhilarating to me and each time you try to push yourself a bit harder. With Pilates, I feel like I’m in much more of a calming headspace and it helps me focus on my breathing as well.


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