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Utilising INTENT and FOCUS in Your Running Training

Quality training is the cornerstone of any successful running regimen. However, the quality of your training isn’t just about how far or how fast you run; it’s also about how you approach each session mentally and emotionally. In this article, we’ll explore two key concepts that can significantly elevate the quality of your training: INTENT and FOCUS. We’ll also provide practical examples to help you apply these concepts in your own training.

The Concept of INTENT

Definition and Importance

INTENT refers to the specific goal or objective you set for a particular training session. It serves as a guiding principle that aligns your efforts with your broader training goals.

How It Guides the Training Session

Setting an intention helps you stay committed and focused throughout the session. It provides a framework within which you can evaluate your performance and make necessary adjustments.

Relationship with Training Goals

Your intention should be closely aligned with your long-term training goals, whether it’s building endurance, improving speed, or mastering a specific skill.

Practical Examples for INTENT

  • Building Endurance: Intention could be “To increase my stamina for longer runs.”
  • Improving Speed: Intention could be “To improve my average pace.”
  • Skill Development: Intention could be “To focus on maintaining a consistent breathing pattern.”

The Concept of FOCUS

Definition and Importance

FOCUS refers to the specific aspect of your performance that you aim to concentrate on during the training session. It could be a technical element like your form, or a mental aspect like staying present.

How It Enhances Training Quality

Having a focus can significantly improve the quality of your training. It allows you to pay attention to the finer details, making each session more than just a physical exercise.

Relationship with Mindfulness

Focus is closely related to mindfulness. Being mindful during your runs helps you become more aware of your body and your performance, thereby enhancing the quality of your training.

Practical Examples for FOCUS

  • Body Position: Focus on maintaining an upright posture.
  • Knee Drive: Concentrate on lifting your knees higher during each stride.
  • Breathing Technique: Focus on deep, rhythmic breathing.

Combining INTENT and FOCUS

When used together, INTENT and FOCUS can create a synergistic effect that makes your training sessions more effective and fulfilling. While the intention sets the stage for what you aim to achieve, the focus ensures that you’re paying attention to how you’re achieving it.

Case Study: A Real-World Example

As the founder and head coach at Mindful Runner, I can personally attest to the benefits of using INTENT and FOCUS in training. Here’s my testimonial:

“I have found that setting the intention before a run and having a relevant focus improves how I feel during the run and how I feel when I am done. I’m more in tune with my body during the run and I feel more satisfied at the end of the run, especially if I managed to maintain my focus for the majority of the run. It feels a lot more like I’m practicing a skill with the aim of improving the skill rather than simply going for a mindless run.”

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Metrics

While traditional metrics like time, distance, and pace are important, they don’t provide a complete picture of your training quality. Incorporating INTENT and FOCUS adds a qualitative dimension that complements these quantitative metrics, offering a more holistic view of your performance.

The concepts of INTENT and FOCUS offer a comprehensive approach to training that goes beyond mere physical exertion. By incorporating these elements into your training regimen, you’re not just running; you’re practicing the art of running.

Every one of the Mindful Runners workouts includes an INTENT and a FOCUS, does yours?

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