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Gratitude vs Grind-itude
Michelle is a runner and triathlete located in the Bow Valley, and like others in the valley, she trains hard all year round. She works as a massage therapist at Le Refuge. She is also the co-founder of Mountain Mindfulness, combining her knowledge of guiding and mindfulness to aid people in transferring lessons from the trail to everyday life.
Autumn is a time of transition. Many of us have put in big training volume blocks in order to achieve peak fitness for racing. October is frequently a time of rest and recovery. A time to work on mobility and strength. Yet there’s a plethora of articles and social media posts about autumn being the “best time to run.” And then there’s strava. And then there’s club runs. Whatever the source, many athletes find themselves “forced” to keep training and to keep grinding. All of a sudden athletes become robots, mindlessly moving through the motions. Runs and workouts become a chore, or drudgery. Athletes start to approach each run or workout with the mentality of, “let’s just get through this.” Furthermore, they might not even be aware of stalled progress or building excessive fatigue.
I’m not suggesting you quit running. In fact, the articles are right. Autumn is a beautiful time of year to run. The mornings are crisp. The leaves are orange. The larches have turned. The dusting of snow on the mountains makes them pop. Perhaps you simply need to make a few adjustments to move from grind to gratitude.
Here’s a few tips to add a little gratitude practice in order to adjust your running approach, become more effective on the trail, and savour the journey rather than dread it.
Reconnect with your WHY→
As you warm up, or lace up your shoes, take a moment to reconnect with your purpose. What is your “why” behind running? What truly drives you to run and train? Tapping into your why helps fuel your workout.
Fake it until you make it→
Expressing gratitude induces positive emotions, feeling of pleasure, and contentment. If you are tired, groggy, or fatigued beyond the capacity of actually feeling gratitude, then fake it. Start repeating to yourself a mantra, such as, “I’m so lucky I get to run” or “this is so wonderful” or “thanks mother nature for such great trails.” Eventually your brain will recognize gratitude and send positive signals to your nervous system. By faking it, you will enhance dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters of happiness. Dopamine and serotonin make us feel good and enhance our mood immediately- even if just a miniscule amount.
Pause for p.a.w.s→
Pay attention with senses. Since autumn running is all about enjoyment, take a moment to enjoy! Stop for a few seconds to take in the scenery around you, listen to the wind, or feel the crunchy leaves under your feet. Let your soul benefit from the fresh air. Take a moment to really soak it in and deposit positivity into your mental bank.
Next time you hit the trails, give yourself a smile for getting outside, and remember to prioritize gratitude. You’ll thank yourself for it :)