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My daughter is planning on running her first marathon...NYC 2008...<br><br>
The plan is for me to run it with her......she has been slow getting prepared and I have been trying to get her moving.....<br><br>
When we ran our first 5K together this last Thanksgiving she was wearing her IPOD....I quickly informed her that there will be NO IPOD while we run NYC together...<br><br>
Here is her latest concern....(I guess she though that I was recommending her not to ever wear an IPOD...which is not the case).<br><br><i>"But, what I am really worried about is my mental state. What is my brain going to do for 26.2 miles. I<br>
have been running without an ipod and it is torture. What do you do? Make up stories, focus on breathing, watch the scenery??? Please, because I tried to do 4.5 without music and almost lost my mind."</i><br><br>
Here was my response:<br><br><i>"Running with music is great.......in fact I have a link that provides free music designed for running...to help with pace...<br><br>
But....there is a time and place for everything.....don't miss out on the opportunity to connect with your surroundings.....<br><br>
I concentrate on form, breathing, stride (180 steps per minute)...but after a while this will become more natural......<br><br>
The rest of the time....I might think about absolutely nothing..or everything....who knows you might solve all the worlds problems..or just your own...<br><br>
Sometimes you practice the race in your head...imagine running smooth, effortless and running through the wall as if it never existed.....<br><br>
Think about arriving early in the morning a couple of hours before the gun goes off<br>
watching all the people with nervous energy<br>
all with one goal<br>
to make it all the way to Central Park pain free<br>
imagine everyone united at that one moment in time<br>
everyone there has prepared for months and months<br>
and their time has come.....when nothing else is more important<br>
see the pre race ceremonies<br>
envision all the people lining the streets<br>
they saw the leaders go by....but they are still there...to see you ...for one fleeting moment<br>
in that one moment in time you become part of something bigger than life.....<br><br>
Practice the race everyday.....that is a lot to think about....."</i><br><br>
What do you think about?
 

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Great question and I'll be real interested in reading the responses we get.<br><br>
I do my long runs outdoors whenever possible and I've never run with music outside (only on the TM), mostly for safety reasons, but also because I don't want to create a mental dependency on music to get me through a run.<br><br>
I don't focus on the entire length of my run during LR's. I break it down into loop segments or time segments, such as "5 more miles til I take my gu" or "2 more miles til I'm done with this first loop".<br><br>
I use the time to NOT think sometimes. Just turn the brain off and look at scenery. I'm fortunate that where I usually do my long runs, it's fairly scenic and I run by horse properties, alpacas (that like to run along the fenceline with me), nice homes, etc.<br><br>
I also devote some time to thinking about certain people - some people from the board here or friends in real life that might be having struggles, so I spend time thinking about them.<br><br>
And then this past Saturday when I did my 18 miles, and I was getting very warm towards the end, my drink was getting equally as warm, all I could think about was how good a cold beer would taste. <img alt="uhoh2.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/uhoh2.gif"> Never did have one though.
 

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Just about everything Tammy said goes for me, too! I also like to work through problems I'm having either at home or at work, coming up with possible solutions or approaches. The one problem I have with this is when my brain is occupied with these things, my legs get into mischief and I go too fast... I do have to "come back" to the task at hand and check speed, etc, and also (these days) keep an eye out for ice...<br>
But basically, yeah, what Tamster said.
 

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Related question I get really frequently from co-workers...."don't you get bored?"<br><br>
I really really need this time to decompress, to look at trees budding out, wonder what that bird is, compose what I'll say on KR's daily thread, and....whatever.<br><br>
I think it comes down to "whatever" time -- I don't get enough of this space in my life. No wonder I like to run long!
 

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I never get bored. Ever.<br><br>
I agree with what Tammy wrote.<br>
I agree with what Tim wrote.<br>
I've run NYC, definitely no need for an iPod. (And I like to listen to music during a long run every once in a while and every TM run)<br>
NYC is an event, there is always something to see or hear. NYC is the coolest marathon in that respect. Not my favorite one, but definitely cool.
 

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boy, I do some of my best thinking of the day when my head is cleared of clutter and my Asics are hitting the pavement...<br><br>
I think about:<br>
(often in this order)<br><br>
whether today is a good running day or not-if my body is really sore, it tells me within 10 minutes or so-so sometimes I'll abort the plans for the day<br><br>
then I like to look around at the world for a while...<br><br>
then I think about problems that I'll be dealing with during the day later on...<br><br>
then I think about pushing my pace a bit-if I'm up to it<br><br>
then there is often an epiphany about some problem that's been troubling me<br><br>
finally, I notice the world again-especially if there is a sunrise or sunset<br><br>
Good luck with your daughter, Tim!
 

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I used to feel the need to run to clear my mind, similar to what econo said.<br><br>
Now I'm finding I can't go running unless my mind is already clear.<br><br>
I'm always afraid I'll be bored when I first start out. Unless my body is failing me, though, I don't often get bored. I need to work on remembering that more.<br><br>
A LR for me is anything around an hour or more, so I'm not sure that qualifies.<br><br>
I never run without music, so I think I need to venture to that edge, and see what "pure" running is like: just the sound of my feet on the pavement, the wind, my breathing. Though the music that has worked the best for me is mantra music, repetitive yet lyrical stuff, where the songs last anywhere from 7 minutes to 31 minutes.<br><br>
What Tim wrote reminds me an awful lot of how one meditates, yet running is definitely not meditation. You can certainly achieve some of the benefits of meditation via running, but it's not the same. Meditation is about stillness, including stilling the thoughts. Running is about running, pure and simple.<br><br>
What do I thnk about when I run? All this stuff I just wrote, and plus a lot more.
 

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Hmmm. I'm not terribly clever when I'm running.<br>
I am chipper and sparkly in <b>Zone 1</b> (if impatient with the pace.)<br>
In <b>Zone 2</b>, I can do basic arithmetic and think about Stuff<br>
In <b>Zone 3</b>, I get down to business. Don't want to talk, am thinking about body, wind, footfall, pace, breeeeathe. Can consider strategy. Can add. Sort of.<br>
In <b>Zone 4</b>, I live from one step to the next. Each breathing cycle is an entire world. HR OK? Check. Pace OK? Check. Consider HR and Pace in conjunction with each other? Well, no. Not smart enough for that any more. Curbs are difficult to negotiate. Get outta my way. Ability to recall number of repeats completed marginal.<br>
In <b>Zone 5</b>, I'm in a world of hurt. Can no longer count. The numbers on my watch do not make sense. Peripheral vision goes. Is it over yet?<br><br>
Long runs are spent in Z2 and Z3. I've never in life been bored outdoors, but the treadmill is a quick route to a straitjacket for me. I cannot do creative problem solving, nor do I consider technical work problems. What <b>does</b> happen is that Truth flows freely. The words that drift into my mind on a long run are spoken from the very core of my soul and deserve the gravest attention.
 

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I also never get bored. Running is <i>me</i> time. I sort out all kinds of things, let my mind wander, enjoy my surroundings.<br><br>
I occasionally wear my iPod, but half the time don't even remember what songs came on!<br><br>
I always enter my home feeling clear-headed and in a good frame of mind. The road truly is my therapy.
 

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I find myself day dreaming a lot when I run. Not into music at all, I like to <i>hear</i> my surroundings.
 
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I run w/music and I run w/o music<br><br>
I think about many things, and much of that has been mentioned<br><br>
Some things I try <b>NOT</b> to think about include:<br><br>
how far I've run (time and or distance)<br>
how far I've got to go (time and or distance)<br>
eating, at least until the last couple of miles<br>
how big that next hill(s) is (are)
 

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I think about random things. I think about everything from things that I need to do around the house, to things I need to do at work. I think about friends and family. I think about my next race, then the next mile comes, and I think about all of those things all over again <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif"><br><br>
Sometimes on a run, I think about nothing at all, and I just watch the scenery. Sometimes I run with a group, and I enjoy the conversations.<br><br>
I rarely run with music. I do however require music on the treadmill, that's really the only time that I <b>have</b> to have music.
 

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Mentally, I am fine with thinking about the distance left if it is shorter than the distance I have already covered.
 

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Tim,<br><br>
I think it is so cool that you are doing this with your daughter and I loved your response to her question.<br><br>
I used to be quite dependent on music but I only use it about half the time now. At first, I felt uncomfortable with the silence and with my own thoughts. I didn’t like hearing the sound of my breathing, the feel of my heart pounding, or the crazy directions my mind took.<br><br>
Running without music provides a nice opportunity to let my mind run free and I enjoy the random and scattered thoughts as they move in and out of my consciousness. I don’t expect to save any lives or solve any world problems – my concentration level is too low for that! However, running sans music gives me a chance to look inward and focus on how I feel mentally and physically right this very minute. Where am I holding stress? What hurts? What negative energy or tension can I release? What is my mood? Often, I think about how fortunate I am and how wonderful it is to be physically active. I dream about things I want to do or try. My mind frequently wanders to thoughts of friends and family – especially my sons. I also think a lot about my marriage and I think about past loves. I marvel at the natural world around me and what a treat it is to enjoy the changing weather. Once in a while I will suddenly find myself feeling sad and very introspective during a long, quiet run and I try to think about what caused that feeling. I rarely think about my job as I already spend enough hours per day on that subject.<br><br>
Now thoughts on a treadmill is another story (how much longer? how much farther? when will the agony end?)
 

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I'll be the dissenting voice here. I enjoy running on the treadmill. The temperature is usually OK and the whole thing is so automized that I can just get inside my head, turn on my ipod, and get into a rhythm. I think about all sorts of stuff, from an argument with my evil stepdaughter, writing a letter in my head, planning my day, dealing with the horrible village manager who wants to cut the library's budget, how to release from a bad mood, what to have for dinner, thinking about my sweet husband, to ruminations about the upcoming weddings of 2 of my kids, to deep thoughts about how all my muscles and breathing and head are feeling. Most of the time I couldn't tell you what I was hearing on the ipod ~ it's more like background music or white noise. Sometimes I watch the TV but not usually.<br><br>
When I run outside, which is very seldom in the winter months, I have to carefully figure out where each step goes and be super-aware of my surroundings. It almost takes away the pleasure of running for me. One time I was in DC and stayed at a hotel and I went out for a run and misjudged a curb and fell into the street and was almost hit by a car.<br><br>
When my kids were babies, I used to put 2 of them in a twin stroller and run around a nearby college track. The 3rd kid would stand in the middle of the circle, crying (usually) until it was his/her time to be in the stroller. It was hard having 3 kids in 3 years and no money. One year the college put those giant blue foamy pads in the center and my kids would bounce around on them every day while I ran/walked around the track. Then we'd feed the ducks, eat a picnic lunch (if weather cooperated) and go home. It was the only way I could stay slim then.<br><br>
I wish I could run better outside, and sometimes it does happen. But more often than not, I feel better about running on the treadmill than outside. My sister says it means I'm not a "real" runner. I try to ignore her comment.<br><br>
Susan
 

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I also tend to random thoughts when I run. Sometimes I'll think about something I see during the run. Sometimes I think about what people are talking about here - either justifying my opinions or trying to understand others. Sometimes I'll plan out home projects. Sometimes I'll think about work-related projects. Sometimes I'll just think about nothing.<br><br>
(I grew up on a farm, and spent many long days on a tractor just going from one end of the field to the other, and back. I've had plenty of practice entertaining myself.)<br><br>
The one thing that tends to annoy me is that when I start getting tired I no longer think about different things - I keep thinking about the same thing over and over. That can get old fairly quickly.
 

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I've been running with a partner lately, so no music but lots of conversation. That really makes the time go quickly and I highly suggest a running partner on long runs. Since I run the same exact route when I run alone and it gets a little tedious (I've run the same exact route for over 4 years so far), I usually listen to music if I'm running alone.<br><br>
As far as races, which so far have only been 1/2 marathons, I have done both with music and without, depending on the race. If the race is billed as an "entertainment" race, I don't listen to any music and enjoy the crowds and entertainment. If I'm running with someone, I don't listen to any music because we can talk along the way and keep each other company. But if it's a low-entertainment race, small crowd, so-so scenery, and I'm there alone, I will have my music with me. I think it's good to switch off getting use to listening to music or not listening to music.<br><br>
What do I think about when I'm running (alone)...it's fantastic actually. It's the time to sort out your problems or develop new ideas. I run through my "to-do" list, make mental notes, say hello to neighbor's. Since I've been running, I'd have to say the DRAMA in my life has all but vanished, seems I can workout those drama issues when I'm running and avoid the embarrassment of bringing it up to others. People think I'm so calm and in control - that's because my cursing is reserved for my running time when I blast everyone elses stupidity!!!
 

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I think about everything...and nothing. But I'm never bored when I run outside.<br><br>
On a side note, I expense my long run mileage to my company per the IRS automobile allowance. I told my boss that, and he said it was well worth it to him. Since he's a runner and biker, he understood exactly why.
 

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Even on a long training run, I mostly think about running. In a race (even a marathon) all I think about is the running and the race itself. I'm mostly thinking about the pace, evaluating how I'm feeling, concentrating on staying smooth, etc. In a training run, I might also think more generally - plotting training, planning races, and day dreaming about times. But in a race itself, I stay pretty focused on the task at hand, and I'm kept plenty busy with that addition of race strategy and evaluating the competition along with the actual mechanics of running. That may not sound like a lot of fun, but I really enjoy taking that approach, especially racing when you get in the groove and run right to the edge.
 

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In a marathon, I am thinking about running. My pace. Other runners. The crowd...or lack there of. It is all about running.<br><br>
In long training runs where the pace is less than MP, I think of everything. I think of news, sports, family, work, the weather, holidays--everything flashes with great brillance during the run. It is a time to sort things out, to become refreshed mentally and improved physically. I have never ran with a MP3 and rarely train with anyone so the long run is quality me time. The long runs make me better.
 
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