When athletes,and in this case runners become focused on an activity they can easily lose track of time and place. This may happenwhen you’re engrossed in a good book or watching a movie…I bet it has even happened to you; you stop what you were doing and realize the time has flown by…and depending on where you were at the time you may have forgotten where you were.
There are times I have been sofocused on driving that I couldn’t recall how I got to my destination. Scary I know, but I’m sure I’m not alone…(be honest now)!
Sports theorists believe this lapse in the space-time continuum takes place in the “zone” where everything flows into one stream of thoughtful activity. When you enter the zone while running you experience similarly altered states. The time flies by as do the kilometers…both seem shorter than usual.
And, while you’re “lost in time and space” you are really being rewarded for your efforts. While in the zone you’re not running to please others; you will have forgotten about the distance, the hills, your coach and your training partners…the zone can be defined as the joy of running. If you break it down there wouldn’t be much enjoyment if you were concerned about maintaining a set pace, keeping your coach happy or obsessing about your finances and day-to-day responsibilities.
We have all heard about runners who have been looking for the runners high, but never quite achieve it…I believe that the runners high, the zone and the flow cannot be consciously sought out; they must come to you. The zone or the flow is very difficult to bring about on a moment’s notice – the best things in life cannot be forced. In many ways, in running as in life, the harder you try to attain something the more elusive it can become.
You may wonder why I decided to talk about the zone and flow this week…it’s quite simple really, I observed my team of half marathoners achieve flow during a routine 8K weeknight training run. They were running in the moment; our 8K mysteriously morphed into 9.5K and the time, well it flew by…and not once did anyone ask about the distance or the time. They were the activity...they were the Run.
Once again the runners in the half marathon practicum commited to a solid week of training and the outcomes; well they were out of this world!