iSportsAnalysis are serialising “Running Sussed”, a book by ex international runner Julia Chi Taylor. In today’s chapter Julia will be talking about “In the zone, In the flow”. Thank you Julia Chi for sharing your wisdom and insights. It is a book to open people to the ‘how to run” aspect – or “how to become a runner“ and yes, definitely those who haven’t run much and a interested to follow a path of least resistance
But – it also has a philosophical aspect that means that people who have run for years can get something from it – some deeper insight or connection to themselves through the art of running.
Julia has been running all of her life, it has informed how she has chosen to live from a very young age and has been the bedrock of her ‘practice’ both physical and spiritual – in fact it has become her spiritual practice through the mirror of seeing herself reflected back in her running endeavours.
Julia achieved her first international vest at the age of 19 and went on to run at international level for the next 13 years.
Her most notable achievements were winning the Dublin City Marathon, being placed 7th woman in the London Marathon (3rd British) in a time of 2.36.31 and competing in the Commonwealth Games Marathon in 1986.
Chapter 13: In the zone, In the flow
There is much talked about the runners high and being in the zone, this is a point when everything feels effortless, mind body and spirit in unison and in flow with the universal force. This is meditation on the move at its ultimate and the place where in truth we could all live if we were mindful and present to each moment and connected to our true self at the core of our being; if we ‘get out of the way of ourselves’ our deepest inner guide knows all there is to know and knows that our body has far greater reserves and can do far more than our mind often allows it to.
The more miles you run, the more you will become attuned to the universal laws, the natural laws and to your own body which is a part of the great cosmos.
Ultra runners who run great distances way beyond what seems possible, are folk who are more connected to a spiritual process on the run, rather than an attachment to any sort of outcome, they surrender to something greater and become a part of it.
LSD long slow distance was fashionable in the 70’s and 80’s and produced a high level in depth of runners; the elite runners of today still run big miles and it allows the body to become aerobically so strong and fit that great distances can be covered at very fast paces. Running fast but seemingly without effort is the ultimate high. It comes from a relaxation within the body and mind that means that there is no thinking required. By paying attention on the running journey to all the factors that are important to allow this unfolding of your true expression, you will find that running is so much more than simply a way of ‘keeping fit’
Through being conscious from the beginning that balancing and aligning the body is of the utmost importance, that being conscious of running form; developing a strong core and a certainty and lightness of footfall; by paying attention to your diet and keeping hydrated and healthy – and through becoming conscious of how you think about yourself and about others; by really exploring your paradigm so that you are open to co creating with others an exciting new story.
Through all of the preparation time, then the expression will flow, the miles will unfold and ‘finding time’ to run becomes an outdated and redundant thought.
Running as a regular practice will bring so many benefits that you are more creative, active, alive and present in all of the rest of your life.
The skills you have learnt on the running path to master running have truly become skills that are now integral to you as a person and that have meant you have become a master in your own life…
And when you are running for hour after hour, you will find that a three hour run is effortless – you will run and the miles fly by and time ceases to be time, you are simply in one step and the next and the next, you have become running and it now will take you where it wants, rather than you trying to direct the flow, you have surrendered to the flow.
This steps up a gear when racing. Racing means that there is a time over distance expectation – or a race to the finish line to finish as high up a field as possible. With those pressures can arise a movement away from being in the zone; but if you see competition as a place to stretch yourself and to grow, and your fellow competitors as friends who are there to help this process, then racing takes on a whole new energy.
It is to be welcomed; you have the opportunity to become more that you were before and to find that something you thought maybe possible has come to reality.
If you think of the apprehension before a race as excitement rather than nerves, then you will simply be preparing to allow whatever is within you out, and it becomes a place of peak experience meeting peak performance.
Release any attachment to the outcome, release any fear that arises, and when the gun goes, allow the flow and allow yourself to express all that is within you.
Time and thought will disappear, it’s just you in motion, all of you out there, nothing hidden away, nothing that you cannot reveal; this is the zone, the truth of you in motion in a meditation on the move.
About the Author: Julia Chi Taylor
Julia is an ex international distance runner.
In the late 70’s all through the 80’s and into the early 90’s she competed regularly for England and GB at distances from 5k to Marathon. Some of her best performances include winning the 1985 Dublin Marathon and finishing 7th woman (3rd British woman) in the 1986 London Marathon in a time of 2.36.31 where she was selected to run in the Commonwealth Games.
She still competes now as a master over 55, regularly winning her age group in races around the world. She’s was also part of the winning team for the national master X country championships in March this year, 2016. Julia has coached and mentored others to achieve their dreams in sport and life for the past forty years!