Find us @


Intuitive Running could be the Key to Your Best Race Performance

Experts say running with a weighted vest will help you finish the race and have a lot more fun.



The concept of using intuition as a decision-making tool dates back to ancient Greece, when the teachings of Aristotle and Plato were influenced by intuition. But right now, intuition is in vogue. Intuitive eating, intuitive fitness, and intuitive cooking are all terms used by dietitians and trainers, respectively.

Is intuitive the next to run?

It might be. I followed my instinct and completed my fastest (and happiest) half marathon in 12 years. Experts concur that using your gut instinct to direct your training and race decisions may really improve your running.

What Is Intuition?

According to Joel Pearson, Ph.D. in neuroscience and director of the Future Minds Lab at the University of New South Wales, who researches intuition, intuition is the constructive use of unconscious knowledge to produce better decisions or behaviors. Even unconscious information can be felt by us, and people frequently talk about feeling something in their gut, stomach, or throat.

As evidence that people can use unconscious knowledge to guide conscious judgments, Pearson’s research supports his mission to shift intuition from the realm of superstition into the realm of reality. Our brains process a tremendous quantity of information every day, yet we just pay attention to the tip of the iceberg, he claims. The majority of the associations we form are hidden, something we typically overlook as we go about our daily lives.

But they’re still there, so when you have an inkling about something, it can be based on knowledge that you aren’t consciously aware of. For example, your brain might have established a link between modest humidity levels and your performance. Even if you don’t consciously detect the sticky air, you subconsciously consider that perhaps this isn’t the day to go hard when the humidity is slightly higher.

When “intuitive” is used in a sentence before a verb like eating or running, it has come to mean putting your own judgment before of external factors like data and diet pressure, respectively. People frequently confuse intuition and mindfulness in discussions on these subjects, but just so you know, they’re actually more like cousins than twins. According to Pearson, intuition is a gut sense that informs decisions; it’s the reason you run without worrying about what-ifs, for instance. Being mindful is a state of awareness and presence that over time can help you become more perceptive.

It’s crucial to recognize what intuition is not before discussing how to access this ostensibly magical, mystical sixth sense—don’t worry, we will accomplish that. Not every idea that comes to mind is intuition.

According to Cindra Kamphoff, a trained mental performance consultant and sports psychologist with a Ph.D. in sports psychology, “the conscious mind is laden with self-doubt, fear, and worry.” To avoid confusion with intuition, keep in mind that intuition is based on knowledge we aren’t obviously aware of. As a result, if you’re beating yourself up and believing you’ll never achieve your objective, that kind of thinking is quite overt. It’s more likely that you’re feeling anxious and fearful right now.

Additionally, according to Pearson, the second half of a marathon’s agony, discomfort, and tiredness do not constitute intuition. Although they are not intuition, these sentiments are nevertheless genuine and legitimate. Instead, they are the physical side effects of long distance running. If you stopped jogging anytime it got challenging, you would never complete a marathon, even if your gut instinct can occasionally guide you in determining whether to push or pull back.

Several Benefits of Intuitive Running

You need to stop thinking about your to-do list, your running time, or how you want the workout would end already so you could get on with your day in order to access your intuition. These kinds of thinking (a) divert your attention from your deeper wants and skills, and (b) remove you from the tap tap tap of your steps as they are happening right now. When you’re present-focused, Kamphoff claims, you’re more likely to race at your best. “The mind can hold us back at times.”

Running intuitively may also mean pushing forward with a clear head and heart, essentially booking it without allowing any b******* hold you back, otherwise known as the self-doubt, fear, and anxiety Kamphoff noted before. This is critical for long-term success in our sport, to be sure.

Without firsthand experience, I could be dubious. I completed my fastest half marathon a few months back. My splits were accurate to the second and were guided by a sense, a click, a rhythm, and a dance to a beat that never varied, which was cooler than the speed itself. I didn’t have any problems and didn’t think of my pace as a specific number, but I kept it up for 10 miles, again to the second, because it felt good at the time, only picking it up in the last three.

According to Pearson, this is actually interoception, a profound awareness of your body that underpins intuition. Some people may simply respond “yes” and tap on the table when you ask them to “tap out their heart rate,” he claims. Similar to breathing, body temperature, and digestion, some people have a keen sense of what is going on inside their bodies.

Running requires some interoception, but as body awareness increases, “you should know exactly what your ideal speed feels like, how much you can push, and what it means at the end of the race,” adds Pearson.

The Best Way to Use Intuitive Running

On this, Pearson is very clear: Since intuition relies on the internalization of information over time, you must have experience in whatever field you are attempting to be intuitive in. Consider it like this: You may use your intuition in your current position, but you likely used it less when you were a fresh intern. To be clear, this explains in part why intuition does not apply to the overly dramatic sensation you get when something horrible is about to happen on an aircraft or when you are swimming in the water and you fear there might be a shark nearby. Unless you’re a pilot or deep-sea diver, you don’t have enough experience in these environments, thus this feeling is definitely fear.)

Since I’ve been keeping track of my speed for many years, I was able to run such accurate splits based just on gut feeling in my instance. But this doesn’t exclude beginners from beginning to form a more intuitive connection with running. In fact, regardless of your degree of experience, this is a fantastic moment to begin. Several guidelines

Know oneself.

According to Kamphoff, intuitive decisions are much simpler and more precise when one is “truly in tune with one’s body,” since this allows one to know when to push and when to back off.

Chloe Steinbeck, a senior Barry’s and Barry’s X teacher in San Francisco, checks in before to each and every run for this reason. “How am I feeling right now? Am I drowsy? Have I had a restful night’s sleep? Did I work out hard the day before because I felt sore? she questions. “I acknowledge how I feel physically and mentally before I establish reasonable goals.”

First, feel

If you run on the treadmill or wear a watch, pay attention to how your body responds to various speeds and slope levels. Is your heartbeat becoming faster? Could you speak? How much can you say in words?

Steinbeck explains, “I begin every Barry’s lesson by outlining what I think each speed should feel like. “This provides our clients control over the training, enabling them to modify their pace to suit their bodies’ needs on any given day. Additionally, it prepares treadmill users for success outside.

Both Kamphoff and Pearson like to skip music occasionally in the interest of being aware of one’s body and surroundings. The first step to excellent performance is awareness, but while we run, we’re frequently preoccupied, claims Kamphoff. Building increased body awareness requires paying close attention to your breathing, cadence, and effort.

Be watchful

The issue with numerical obsession is that it occasionally results in “future-based thinking,” or the “I’m too slow, I’m never going to accomplish my objective” doom-spiral that Kamphoff refers to. Therefore, consider why you are examining your pace.

Throughout that half marathon, whenever I felt the urge to check my watch, I asked myself if I would have changed my strategy based on the time displayed. I continued without checking whether the response was “no, I feel terrific and joyful and I want to do exactly this forever.” I only permitted myself to look when I thought I might be moving too quickly for my own benefit. If you believe that info may affect your mood, then safeguard it.

There are other figures you can pay attention to instead of (or in addition to) your speed, so keep in mind that pace is probably not the only data point on your watch. In reality, a lot of trackers are approaching fitness in a more holistic way, which, perhaps ironically, can help you subsequently access your intuition.

For instance, Fitbit just introduced a new sleep profile to help consumers understand their sleeping habits. This can assist you in becoming more aware of how your running is being impacted by how you feel the day following a restful or restless night. I like trail running, and I’ve found that I need to be more aware of my footing when I haven’t slept, or if I’m nervous or upset, says Pearson. I need to take my time and consider everything, thus my intuition is diminished.

However, if you are feeling well after an honest check-in with yourself, there is just one thing to do: run instinctively. Fear not. no watch You only had your instincts to lead you to a prospective PR.

Try 200+ at-home workout videos from Prevention, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and more for free for 14 days on All Out Studio!