Why I Think Looking Ahead is Good Practice

I have adopted a bad habit of running with my head down, particularly up hills.

If I chance to lift up my head, and see the gradient of the incline, I sense an immediate dip in performance as if the knowledge of the effort that is still required to reach the top is too much to bear.

Until recently, I have kept my head down and eyes averted to the ground so that my effort is invested fully in the moment, but the problem is that this solution is poor for my posture, it denies me the opportunity to see the environment (often beautiful) in which I am running, and, at the point I reach my goal, I have no sense of achievement within me.

I have asked myself what it would be like to look ahead and overcome this sense of being overwhelmed in the current moment.

Could I invest heavily in the moment, whilst looking ahead without suffering a loss of pace in the current moment?

It is hard to overcome the feeling that looking ahead brings, because it demands a focus of strength now at this point of the hill despite knowing that more “suffering” is to be endured.

I have come to appreciate that looking ahead is in fact, a good practice, not in the sense of being dissatisfied because I am not where I need to be, but as a means of recognising and appreciating more fully the here and now as I move forward.

My breathing is improved, my outlook is transformed, my context is wider and I am safer because I am actually looking where I am going rather than at my feet.

It is my intention to translate my learning from running practice to my life’s struggles.

Where am I now? How does it feel?

Do I know where I am going? Are there options for me to consider?

How is my behaviour affecting my own mental state, the lives of others and my ability to function safely in the environments into which my life takes me?

The intention of my new found capacity to look ahead, is to improve my performance in this moment, to overcome the feelings of being overwhelmed and fatigued and to take enjoyment from aspects of my life, despite the difficulties I am working hard to overcome.

My next blog will be: In Traffic

William Defoe

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