You know those runners whose minds go blank when they work out? The ones who say, “My head goes silent and I just concentrate on the road?” Well, I’m not one of them. If anything, I use the time to constructively work through the day’s events. For me, it’s cheap therapy. I go until I feel better, the problem is solved or I’m just too exhausted to worry about it anymore. So by the time the endorphin rush kicks in, I’m already halfway to Happy Land. Some of the best ideas of my life have come to me on long runs where I let my mind wander. The more there is to process, the faster the workout goes and the more refreshed I feel.
Adversely, I find when I “concentrate on the road” my workouts seem tedious and all-around unenjoyable. I become overly occupied with the click in my left knee, the tightness of my sport bra, my breathing, my pace and how much distance I should cover. I notice other runners on the road and feel compelled to compare our strides. To me, concentrating on the road is a lot like sitting at your desk on a Friday afternoon and watching the clock tick down to 5 o’clock. But I know this is what many do when they lace their running shoes.
No matter your preference: letting the miles fly by as you jam to your favorite tunes, periodically checking your watch as you pass pre-set road markers or letting the free time act as your therapist, there is no wrong way to enjoy your workout. Runners may take different routes, but we all end up at the same place at the end—better off than we started.