Friday, 5 August 2011

Could I be starting to feel the flow?

You've probably heard of flow, sometimes referred to as "being in the zone". One definition of flow from the LIVESTRONG website is:

A state of effortless concentration that results from a period of intense focus. It is the goal of all sport psychology because athletes report being in a state of flow during their best performances. Flow begins at the point that focus stops becoming difficult and starts becoming easy.

I've read a lot about flow but thought it only applied to athletes, those that have the capability to do amazing things at an unbelievably high level. I just always hope to feel good when I run, and so far this week I have.

Wednesday's steady run felt good despite the heat. My goal was just to keep an average pace of 9:45/miles for 7 miles. Can't churn 'em exactly on pace yet, but towards the end feel like I settle into a pretty good rhythm.

Yesterday's 6 miles of "controlled discomfort" was tough as I spent the first few miles running into the wind. Just haven't been able to find a way to overcome it! Pretending that the wind is not there doesn't seem to help. But once I changed direction I was probably helped a bit by a nice little tailwind. Goal was 1 mile warm up, 4 miles at half marathon pace (9:09) and 1 mile cool down.

Had a stitch through part of the run (maybe I didn't wait long enough after eating 2 slices of toast with peanut butter and honey). But I try to run through stitches so I can deal with them during a race if needed. 

Before this run I warmed up with a cannonball as recommended by @runlikeacoyote. I couldn't do the Rockies (well, I tried but I almost fell on my face!) but I was amazed by how the other exercises helped me to loosen up, in particular in my hips. I'll be doing this again and will definitely work on those rockies!

While these runs definitely felt good, I actually think that for a few brief moments on these runs that I might have been in the flow....a glorious minute or two when I felt like I was running--really running--with almost no effort! When I run I *DO* talk to myself and say things like "flow" and "relax" and "rhythm" but nothing really happens. I do it more to stay focused and stop my thoughts from drifting too much. So this happened without any expectations and almost no realization until I thought, "HEY, this is feeling different, feeling GREAT, feeling like I'M A RUNNER!"

Could a natural born shuffler like me actually be feeling the flow?! Is it really possible for ME to have effortless concentration?

All I know for sure is that I'm feeling good!


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