We are well into the Australian summer right about now. The sun rises early and sets late. The air smells like wattle and the humidity hits before you even get out of bed to contemplate going for run.
Even as a self confessed run-aholic, it is so easy to loathe summer running. It’s hard to get going, you feel shorter in breath than usual, the flies cling to the base of your sweaty neck and aggravate your ears and *gasp* worse of all...in summer, you can almost never run a decent pace or get a Personal Best.
But I must also confess that lately I’ve become somewhat of a minimalist. So, sorry for the visual here, but I’ve started running naked.
Okay, Okay...pick yourself up from your horrified state on the floor. I’m exaggerating a little, or using a metaphor you might not yet be familiar with!
In the running-savvy circles ‘doing it naked’ actually refers to running without a timepiece, phone app or any of those other gadgets that track things like your speed, pace, calorie burn, distance or heart rate.
It’s a term used to describe running...pretty much for the sake of running. What a revolution, huh?!
Now some people I know, mainly through our years of running adventures, may very well fall over their foam roller when I say this but I’ve really stopped bloody caring about how fast or slow I go.
I can’t even remember the last time I wore my Garmin (a fancy schmancy running watch). Well, actually that’s a lie. It was during the Berlin Marathon this year, which I totally finished, by the way! The watch however, didn’t really make it! I stopped it at about 32kms when hubby and I were having a jelly bean fix and totally forgot to start it again until 38kms - proof that I wasn’t really out there for a record time.
You see, the thing I’ve realised lately is this: If I get caught up in numbers, I tend to lose sight of the road.
And, of course, I mean the metaphorical road here: the journey.
Although, I’m likely to miss the pavement, literally, then roll an ankle and fall on my face. Ask anyone. I’m the clumsiest. Sometimes I’m amazed I can bloody run!
I’ve started running naked, because I had started to miss the run itself. I got way too caught up in watch the watch was telling me, instead of my body. I was running to the pace of the clock instead of the beat in my chest.
Everything you go through in this life - in this body - is a lesson. I realised that concentrating purely on stats, times and numbers while I was running popped a little wall in between me and my ability to trust my instincts. If I felt really good out there, and looked down to see that I was a few minutes behind my usual pace – I’d start to get really hard on myself. I’d push on and try to pick up the speed, even if my body shouted back that it didn’t have that enough gas in the tank for that. The stats, for me, were a way to compare myself to other runners. I beat that girl at Parkrun last week, why was she going faster than me now?! What does she have that I don’t have?! Do I need to train more? Eat less? Get new gear? Lose weight?
Ugh. It’s a wonder I didn’t fall over, what with all these thoughts pouring from my head. I quietly lost sight of the true reason I began running, because the energy was constantly in my head and not in my quads!
...And so it is with our relationship to food: eating things we hate, because the supermarket shelf, or the telly or the girl at work said we should. Pushing through fatigue, injury or pain because the elliptical screens calorie report is a little underwhelming. Hating on our bodies, because the scale flashes a particular number at you.
It’s really simple: When you get too tied up in trying to perfect it all and stick to these ancient diet rules, you lose your intuition
Your innate wisdom.
You lose your ability to take control of your own body and listen out for its messages about when it’s hungry, when it’s full, when it wants to work out an when it needs a rest. You become disconnected.
And, in my experience, being disconnected from yourself and your body leads to emotional eating, low energy, awful body image and hardcore anxiety. Anyone else been there?
I know what good running feels like. It has nothing to do with what the numbers are. The best runs are the ones where I my feet are synchronised with my pony tail swishing back and forth, cooling my neck down just when I need it the most.
When the only counting involved is how many baby ducks you see as you turn for the track that sidelines the lake.
When your heart rate peaks, not because you have to get your average pace down, but because your husband just kissed you under the Brandenburg Gate at the finish line of your first-anniversary marathon.
You see, when we ‘get naked’ in our relationship with food and body, we realise that we already know what to do to feel and look our best...we just feel vulnerable (gettin’ naked will do that to you!) We get lost in the noise of comparison and become seduced by measuring ourselves on some kind of numbers system, like that’s the only thing that counts! I’m not telling you to throw away your fitness trackers, or the apps that motivate you. They can totally be used for great things.
I’m just asking that you look up from the calorie count and see that you are worth so much more than your watch, or your weight. When it comes to making decisions about what to eat, how to work out or what your body wants and needs in any particular moment: back yourself a bit more. Tune in to your heart and turn down the noise.
Trust your gut. It’s your inbuilt GPS!
p.s If you are interested in working with me to ditch the traditional diet mentality and still create the body and life of your dreams...check out my free EBook, 6 week program or BRAND NEW one session intensive. A new approach is here: and this is your sign that you’re ready!
*a funny side note: I’m writing this post from the waiting room in my hairdressers’ salon. I turned up for a cut an colour an hour earlier than I’d booked for...so maybe a watch might also do me the world of good! ;)