Running Tip #1:
What To Think About When Running

runners feet

Running tip: You may have heard the saying - you are what you eat. I would also say that you are what you think - literally!

You might think 'what has your thinking got to do with running?' - surely it's all about stamina and will-power.

But did you know - research has shown what you think about whilst you run can make a big difference to your performance.

It's probably not something you have given much thought to but with practice it could change the way you approach your running for the better.

What's On Your Mind?

Does it really make a difference? Research suggests it definitely can. A survey defined four specific categories - I think these are relevant to participating in many sporting activities:-

They classed runners thoughts as:-

1) Inward monitoring - focusing on how you feel while running.

2) Outward monitoring - focusing on aspects of the race such as distance, terrain and tactics.

3) Inward distraction - having thoughts irrelevant to the race such as solving ‘mental puzzles’ or what we are going to do after the race.

4) Outward distraction - focusing on surroundings irrelevant to the race such as scenery.

The research concluded that inward distraction (3) should be avoided as it reduces awareness resulting in either running too fast and 'burning out' or running too slow.

Inward monitoring (1) is useful for judging the required pace and also being aware of any warning signals such as muscle strain.

The researchers believe that most attention should be focused outwardly on aspects of the race to minimise the influence of discomfort whilst remaining aware of the race situation.

Are You Focused, In The Moment?

Well here is my tip. I would like to add another category, I call it 'interactive awareness'. This is thinking of how we're running. This isn't about what we're feeling or race strategy, but in relation to the actual movement.

For example, when running, are you aware of the location of your hip joints or which muscles lift the leg off the floor? Focusing on the act of running can help to ‘free up’ the movement if unnecessary tension can be identified.

Misconceptions about our body will influence the way we run. The pelvis is part of the back, yet many run with an excessive swing of the pelvis because the hip joints are held too tightly.

The swaying action of the pelvis will also twist the lumber spine where the psoas muscle (hip flexor) is connected. The psoas lifts the leg therefore inappropriate movement of the spine reduces efficiency and alters the direction of the pull.

This type of thinking is neither inward nor outward, as it requires us to maintain awareness of who is running, how we are running and where we are running.

For example, see if you can be aware of yourself reading this article. What parts of you are making contact with a surface? Is your jaw tight?

More Tips For Runners

I believe what we think determines whether we get into The Zone. If you'd like to know more about this fascinating subject, please see details of my book, 'The Peak Performance Zone'

Do you know when to stop, or when to step up your pace? There's a compromise between being sensible and not injuring yourself, and pushing a little further to improve performance. Find out how to get the balance right here... .

Are you slowing yourself down when you try to run faster? Read more here... How well do you run? How is your technique? You could be restricting your performance with a poor technique. My program is now available for the Kindle for instant download and includes the link to my webpage with the videos.

You can download it now at or

You are here: Home >> Running  >> What To Think About When Running

New! Comments

Please add your comments on what you've just read below.

Improve Your Running Technique

Run faster, longer and injury-free
more info...

Run For Your Life!

Beginners Running Program

Running in The Zone
"There's nothing to beat it!

Peak Performance Program