What Do You Think About?

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on April 9, 2010

Let the weekend begin!

Not going to lie, I started the weekend off by celebrating with some wine. :)

Thank you for your congrats on my Glo Bars hitting Ambrosia! I couldn’t be happier to have your support. :) Also, great discussion going on in My Breakfast Story– it is really inspiring to read about your journey, so thank you all for sharing your experiences.

Fit Sugar had a wonderful post today called ‘What do you think about when you run?. Fit Sugar wrote about a recent opportunity to meet two elite runners Jenny Barringer and Sarah Bowman at the New Balance Women’s Running Summit.


[Pic source]

When the elite runners were asked what music they listen to when they run they simply chuckled and said they don’t listen to music…ever. When asked what they think about when they run, they simply said, ‘running’.

I thought this was so interesting, although not overly surprising, that elite athletes would have their mind on the training, and not anything else.

Another tidbit that I thought was fascinating was that for every hour they are running, they spend 2 hours on strength training, stretching, and icing their muscles! Reading this makes me want to stick with my strength training, stretching, and icing when sore!!! I think it also speaks to how hard running is on the body and how we need to ensure our muscles are strong so they can support the wear and tear of the sport.

When I used to play competitive fast pitch we had training in sports psychology and we learned about the importance of tuning out all distractions. It is supposed to improve not only your mental game, but your physical performance too!

IMG_0180 (2) 

On this particular 12 mile run, I was thinking…

  • Damn, it’s hot. It’s getting hotter with every mile too! Oh crap…
  • Thank God I have a Camelbak now!! *takes gulp*
  • I hope I don’t see one of these!
  • How much longer? I sure wish my Polar wasn’t broken!
  • I wish I lived here ;)
  • Oh good song, crank volume and repeat.

I had Eric by my side (on bike) so I talked to him most of the time! Had I been alone I would have been thinking all kinds of things to pass the time.

I had to ask myself the same questions after I read this article:

1) I tend to always listen to fast and upbeat music, and

2) What I think about on runs varies in great part by the type of run that I am doing. For example, when I go on long, slow-paced runs, I let my mind wander and I think about so many things…family, friends, blogging, to-do lists, the bakery, etc. However, when I do speed work, like the 10k mock race on Monday, I typically only think about running, my goal, my pace, my form, and how much longer I have to pant for! There isn’t much energy to think about much else.

One of the things I LOVE about running is that it gives me time to think and be with my thoughts. I have created Glo Bar flavours and dreamed up new dinner recipes on some of my long runs! I consider that a productive run… ;) Other runs, I just soak up the scenery. It really varies!

I like having the freedom to take running seriously on some days and take it very lightly on other days. I think there is a time to train and a time to play and that is how I like it.

What about you- what do you think about when you run (or just exercise in general)? Do you let your mind wander or do you just zone out and not think about anything? What about during a race?


  • My RAW and gluten-free Glo Bar was a smashing success-finally after SO many trials over the past several months!!! More info to come next week… :)
  • Is anyone else having their comments disappear on them after hitting submit? It has happened to me a couple times and also to another reader. I’m wondering if it is due to this new plug-in I installed…

Enjoy your Friday night :) Coming up tomorrow a VERY delicious dinner recipe you will want to try this weekend!

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is April 9, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I always have upbeat music, and I like to think about the goal I’m working towards. It differs whether I’m doing cardio or lifting. I try not to let my mind wander too much!


Diana April 9, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I don’t run but when I exercise I think about a lot of stuff, my life, my work, etc. While I’m thinking I’m not really paying much attention to the pain or to the fact that I’m tired as hell, so I guess that’s a good thing!


Little Aspects April 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm

When I was at uni, I used to plan essays in my head when I ran! I would do all of my reading, make lots of noted, then off I’d go for a run and let it all sink in and formulate into an essay! :D

Now, I just let my mind wander – work (lesson planning!), what I’m going to cook for dinner, what other exercise I’m going to do etc. Sometimes I listen to books.
When I race (haven’t in ages!) I never listen to anything though. I’m usually thining about how much I want to stop but I check every single km split and if I go through a km a bit faster and I’m on track for my goal time, I get a little buzz. :)


Lisa April 9, 2010 at 4:59 pm

When I swim, I count my laps. Sometimes my mind wanders but the counting brings me back and relaxes me. When I run, I listen to upbeat music to motivate me. I think about running, my form, my pace, my body.


Runeatrepeat April 9, 2010 at 5:03 pm

I don’t listen to music and I think that’s kinda weird. Readers ask for my play list and I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t listen to music.


Danielle (Coffee Run) April 9, 2010 at 5:07 pm

I’ve had my comments disappear before! I thought you were deleting them or something lol


Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) April 9, 2010 at 5:08 pm

I listen to music when I run but the more I run, the more I realize that it’s not fun. And why am I doing something that isn’t enjoyable? So I’m slowly embracing the idea of NOT being a runner and finding other activities that maybe a little better-suited for ME. No need to follow the crowd… :D


liane April 9, 2010 at 5:09 pm

I listen to music on about a third of my runs, another third are silent runs and the last third are with a bunch of people so we chatter amongst ourselves.
I always hate the first 20 minutes, so whatever silent/music/chatting run I’m on, I just silently repeat “keep going, don’t stop” for that first 20 minutes :)


Mary @ What's Cookin' with Mary April 9, 2010 at 5:12 pm

If I’m alone, I usually listen to music. Occasionally, (when alone) just enjoy the quiet. I live in the suburbs and there’s not much quiet around here during the day with all the cars on the streets.

I much prefer workin gout with a buddy and chatting. This ALWAYS passes the time fastest for me.

I’m like you, I’ve created some bomb recipes while letting my mind wander.



Lynda April 9, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I pray :)


Laura April 9, 2010 at 5:22 pm

The latest Runners World has an interesting article about ‘meditating’ running. It was very interesting to me.
I will be in Thornhill next week so if my meetings don’t run long, I will try to make it to Ambrosia – congrats by the way!


Heather (Heather's Dish) April 9, 2010 at 5:33 pm

a lot of times i let my mind wander, but somehow i end up doing math problems?!?! it definitely makes the time pass REAL fast though :)


Run Sarah April 9, 2010 at 5:38 pm

I love letting my mind wander but sometimes I find that when I look down at my Garmin, I have slowed down quite a bit! I find I run the best when I’m not thinking about much but the beat of the music.


Jolene April 9, 2010 at 5:40 pm

At this point in my “running” – if you can even call it that … I only think “How much longer do I have to run? When will this be over? This is torture.”


Allison @ Food For Healing April 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm

i like to listen to music, but sometimes my mind just wanders and i dont even hear my music anymore. I just think about random things usually, nothing in particular


Marisa (Loser for Life) April 9, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I mostly think “God, please let this be over soon.” LOL! Seriously, I do a lot of visualizing when I run. I haven’t quite been able to get “lost in the moment” yet. I’m hoping that happens one day when I can get to the end of a run and be like, “oh, wow, it’s over already???” :)


Chloe (Naturally Frugal) April 9, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I can only zone out when I’m swimming. For some reason the repetitive breathing and water helps me to clear my mind and veg for however long I can swim for. While running, I’m usually bored ;) so I think about absolutely everything. Usually my worries or a problem I’m having, but also sometimes why I’m training and what I have to do next. Probably not very good for focusing on one task at a time, but I just can’t seem to find that zen mode while running. Maybe with practice?


Danielle April 9, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Unfortunately I’m on indefinite running hiatus due to injury (so sad) but when i was running, I’d think about ANYTHINg and EVERYTHING! Especially if something was bothering me I’d really use the run to try to work it out in my head.
What I found very interesting was when I started yoga. DUring yoga I don’t think about anything BUT yoga! There is too much to concentrate on between posture and form and breathing to let any thoughts creep in. And you know what, I love that! Its like a nice mental nap!!


Jennie {in Wonderland} April 9, 2010 at 5:58 pm

TBH I’ve had my comments disappear a few times… but it’s been for a while now, not just since the plug-in was installed.

I think about a lot of things while exercising, but I honestly can’t remember them at all! Mostly, I just repeat Caitlin’s mantra, “Lay the hammer down, lay the hammer down, lay the hammer down”. It really helps me power through difficult bits of a workout.


Monica April 9, 2010 at 6:02 pm

When I run outdoors I like to split my time between music and silence. Sometimes just listening to the birds chirping is music enough (I know that sounds super lame, but its true!). Other times, I mouth the words to some fast tempo music…because I like to pretend that I’m a superstar/rapper/popstar :)Makes time fly!


lindsay April 9, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I have been tyring to run without an iPod lately and its actually kinda nice. I often think about all these different recipe concotions, funny eh? I love this post because its so true. My husband is a profressional triathlete and we have to make sure he trains right, eats right, rests rights, etc. Crazy.

Have a great weekend and CONGRATS!


Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place April 9, 2010 at 6:17 pm

I think about running while I’m running… I think it’s because when I was a competitive runner in high school we weren’t allowed to use headphones or anything like that. It forced me to focus on my stride and breathing more.


Lisa (bakebikeblog) April 9, 2010 at 6:23 pm

I love it when Mr BBB joins me for the run – even if he is on his bike! Makes the time go so much quicker.


Mo April 9, 2010 at 6:35 pm

This is a great question. I marvel and how different my thoughts are when exercising compared to when I am just enmeshed in life.

When running I think about how I should make changes to my life (work) to be happier. And the endorphins make it seem SO possible to make the changes. I just feel really, really sure that I should choose happiness and stop being so stressed just for a paycheck.

Then I stop running/walking and I return to my unfortunate thinking patterns of being stuck and unsure of what to do to improve my life. Someday I will be brave like you and will make the changes!

I listen to music when I exercise and that definitely adds to the good mood!

To answer your question about what happens to our comments now… when I submitted one earlier, it appear in duplicate, kinda froze like that, but then was on your site looking quite normal.


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm

I couldn’t agree with this more!
“When running I think about how I should make changes to my life (work) to be happier. And the endorphins make it seem SO possible to make the changes.”


Olga April 9, 2010 at 6:48 pm

This is such a good question!! Running can be used as something to help you think through a problem or to numb the problem away and escape it (not necessarily the best coping skill). I always have my music on, so I usually think about that! If I am outside, I will think about the scenery and the weather, and if I have a movie on the treadmill indoors, I will think about that.


Jessica @ The Process of Healing April 9, 2010 at 7:13 pm

I would always always listen to music when I ran!!! I hated running without it!
But I definitely think that strength training, stretching, and icing is SUPER important because running does take such a huge toll on the body. I am suffering from a stress fracture right now and I’ve been unable to run or exercise since December and at this point, I’m scared to get back into running even when I am healed.. I LOVE it but this just isn’t worth it!


Staceyhttp://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/ April 9, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Thank you for posting about the importance of strength training for runners. I feel like a lot of runners just run and don’t do any other forms of exercise. But if they did they would see how much it improves your running. Whether it’s endurance, strength, or speed.


Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter April 9, 2010 at 7:35 pm

What a great topic!

I just got back from a run and it consisted of:
-fiddling with my iPod when a slower song came on shuffle
-thinking about how I miss high school track
-feeling like I’ve become very lazy with school and social activities
-and finally absolute excitement for my knee making it 30 minutes with out pain!!!


Erika April 9, 2010 at 7:49 pm

All depends on the day and how I’m feeling – sometimes I’m able to just zone out and enjoy the feeling of running, other days I think about how I can’t let myself walk – I can’t give up, and other days I think about how I am feeling great and come up with ways to push myself further – no matter what the day, I am always proud to have gone out and run :)


Rachel April 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

I love this topic! Being able to think and sort through whatever may be going on in my life is one of the side benefits I discovered about running (there are so many). Now if I don’t have that time to clear my head I feel off. I almost always listen to music and love the motivation it gives me. I guess I’m not so intense but that is why I enjoy it!


Lil Lady Bug April 9, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I don’t listen to music when I run. I wish I did sometimes because I can get bored, but when I listen to music I can lose my form. I am also not a technology savvy person and I don’t have the brains to download music and all that fun stuff (or the patience!). So I also love your blog btw and you have inspired me to go vegetarian again and you have also got me addicted to almond butter…thanks for that. And I just ordered some AMAZING grass! Yay! =)


kathleen April 9, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I never listen to music when I run. I just prefer to run. I feel like it messes up my breathing rhythm somehow, the musician in me wants to match the beat. I learned to focus my mind on the workout when I was a high school athlete and that not thinking, non music listening habit stayed with me. Not that I’m a hardcore runner or anything though.


Lil Lady Bug April 11, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I feel the same way! I have to match my breaths with my steps too! I sing and so the beat must be precise! It’s a lil ocd, but whatever works! haha. I really love this blogging thing.


EaterNotARunner April 9, 2010 at 8:12 pm

I read that same article! I always have music or a podcast going and my mind wanders like crazy. I might have to go music free sometime soon!


Elizathon April 9, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I agree with most everyone else. What I think about all depends on my mood. Sometimes i get lost in thought about life, sometimes I plan dinner, and other times I focus only on the run. If I am training for a race, I imagine the race…over and over.


Kristin April 9, 2010 at 8:27 pm

I just wanted to tell you – I love this twice a day short posts regime! Three was too many, one wasn’t enough, but this two-a-day business? I think it’s perfect!

And thank you for working on a gluten-free bar, now I get to order glo-bars too :-)



Gloria April 9, 2010 at 9:25 pm

It’s just way too boring without music. Even with music on, I still find it really boring.


Becca Dressler April 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm

I’m SO excited about the Raw and Gluten free Glo Bars!!! OH MY :)


Claire @ College:Raw April 9, 2010 at 10:11 pm

I can’t say that I’m able to tune out everything when exercising, but when I run, I don’t use an ipod because I don’t want to get “dependent” on it and freak out if I forget it. A raw Glo-bar? How exciting!


Angela April 9, 2010 at 10:15 pm

I love to listen to podcasts when I do longer runs because I’m typically looking to maintain an easier pace & build endurance. One of my faves is Ben Greenfield Fitness podcasts cause they’re typically over an hr and have lots of great info!


Jenn April 9, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Oh, good question! I like listening to music during intense runs like hill training or intervals. I’ll bring my tunes along for a solo long run. When running with my tri-group, I will bring the music to listen to if I’m not running with a buddy. Chat if with the buddy. Sometimes I plan to not have any music so I can focus on breathing, scanning my body and how I am feeling. I do it every once in a while just to make sure that I don’t “have” to have my music to go faster.


Jenn April 9, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Not having problems with deleting, just in duplicate that last 2 posts. :(


Morgan @ Life After Bagels April 9, 2010 at 10:33 pm

yay I totally need a new dinner recipe – I’ll be reading tomorrow!


Sam April 9, 2010 at 10:59 pm

I bought a refurbed iPod a couple of years ago to use during exercise but found that I actually preferred not having music. I like to hear my breaths, feet turning over, small animals rustling in the bushes, things going on around me. It feels pure.

When I run, I mostly think about the run. How it feels good, how even my gait is, how quietly my feet hit the ground, staying loose, how my legs feel, how the breathing feels and sounds, how it feels to go a certain pace, reminding myself that if I keep my head down I’ll be at the top of the hill in no time, etc. Or sometimes my mind clears and I just focus on the doing aspect of it.


Natalie April 10, 2010 at 2:05 am

I must have music while I run, or do any type of training. I just ordered a waterproof mp3 for swimming laps this summer. When I run I listen to the music and enjoy the feeling of movement and being outdoors. I usually have my dogs so I keep an eye on them and make sure they aren’t too far ahead or behind me.

I’m one of the new orders you returned to after your vacation, and both my husband and I love your bars! Good work and congrats on getting on the store shelves.


Jenn April 10, 2010 at 2:25 am

I always listen to music when I do cardio. It’s not always upbeat sometimes it’s just dramatic ;-) I find working out often gets my creative juices flowing in other areas of my life.


Sarah April 10, 2010 at 3:19 am

I usually work out to a dvd and if I know the routine I like to let my mind wander – I write so many blog posts in my head when I do that! lol. I find that when I concentrate I often don’t enjoy the routine as much. It’s as though I feel every minute of pain, strain and puffing and I just don’t like it. When I tune out, I’m often surprised when I finish that it was so easy!

If I’m out walking I usually don’t listen to anything, I like to hear the birds and think about … everything and anything!


Judy (Cookbook maven) April 10, 2010 at 6:43 am

I am fairly new to running. While I enjoy listening to music, I don’t. I know it’s safer that way. Plus my mp3 player is on my phone & constantly reboots itself . . . it’s a pain.

And I find I really don’t think about much at all while running!


Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) April 10, 2010 at 6:54 am

When I run I listen to loud, upbeat music as well. It also depends on the type of run I am going on! I invent recipes at times as well, go over my to-do list… sometimes I just plain daydream!!



Anne P April 10, 2010 at 6:57 am

I stopped listening to music when I run – I like just listening to nature and not being distracted. You’re right, though – unless I’m going balls to the wall fast and sprinting/doing hills, my mind is wandering. But I like that – it’s my time to think :)


Kelly April 10, 2010 at 7:23 am

I’m impressed that they can think of nothing but running- I can’t even focus on the task at hand during yoga and that’s when you are really supposed to think about nothing haha. That’s okay though- I enjoy listening to music and letting my mind wander :)


jassy April 10, 2010 at 8:08 am

i think about the fats being converted to energy–beta oxidation and electron transport chain…haha=)

i am usually thinking how fun running can be if my left foot and right pelvic joint were not sore=)


Mariepouliche April 10, 2010 at 8:14 am

I always listen to music. It gets me in the mood :)
I’m a very anxious person and exercising is the best way to help me to calm down. Everything seems easy after my workouts.
Also, when I’m getting tired and feel like giving up, I visualize myself. I see me being strong and I push harder… I’m hard to myself: I like having a good sweat!


Susan April 10, 2010 at 8:52 am

FOOD! I always think about what I’m going to eat when I get home ;) I need to listen to fast, upbeat music too. Lately I’ve been into punk-rock while running, the pounding music makes me pound the ground better ;)


Lizzie April 10, 2010 at 10:23 am

My mum convinced me to chuck the ipod and run sans music – what motivated me to do it was a 10K race where under USTAF rules, music devices were not allowed on the course (obviously no one pays attention to that!), but it made me decide to not bring it with me, just in case. I haven’t run with music and that was 3 years ago. I hear and see so much more when I run outside. There have been times when people have been looking for directions and been able to ask b/c I’m not wearing headphones. I do use my iPhone when I am l am on the treadmill though – 8 miles of t-mill running can be tough with no distractions! :) I think about a gazillon different things when I’m running and even if I haven’t solved a single problem by the time I’m finished, it’s still helpful :)


Heather @ Side of Sneakers April 10, 2010 at 10:47 am

I write blog posts in my head too!! My comments are showing up here, but my reply comments on my own blog aren’t showing up…


Miranda @www.mirandasjeans.blogspot.com April 10, 2010 at 10:51 am

This morning I thought of this entry when I went running, to see what I thought about while I ran.
I thought about:
– This entry
– The Edward Sissor Hands turtle
– Wishing I could hear birds chipring over my up beat music playing on my Ipod
– Looking into the windows of my parents house to see if anyone was awake (630am – they were not).
– Wondering what is better when running, landing on your heals and pushing off with the toes or landing flatter, toes first and pushing up with the foot. Heal toe felt better.


Lauren April 10, 2010 at 2:05 pm

YAY about the glo bars!!!! Can’t wait to order some!!!


Nicole April 10, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Sports psychology sounds so interesting! Back when I was a cheerleader, I was under intense pressure from my coaches and teammates to be able to throw a back handspring… something which absolutely terrified me. I am not a fan of being head-over-heels. I spent so much time and energy trying to learn how, but my fear was crippling. I remember someone telling me that I should think how many athletes do– that is, to envision my success. I thought that was such an interesting concept, but I had such a hard time grasping it! The few times I blocked out the fear and actually got in the zone, I could throw a beautiful (if not very imperfect) back handspring, time and time again. It wasn’t a matter of me not physically being able to throw one, not knowing how, it was just a mental thing! (In the end, I decided that back handsprings just aren’t for me haha!)

Long story short… it’s really fascinating to think about how much thought processes can affect physical performance! How cool that some people are able to focus like that.


Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble April 10, 2010 at 6:16 pm

I started my weekend off with wine too!


Grace April 11, 2010 at 12:00 am

When I run, I always listen to music, it kind of keeps me from paying so much attention to my breathing rhythm and pretty allows me to zone into just the runner’s high. When I swim, I count laps and make sure my form and stroke are proper, bought water proof casing for my Nano and water proof head phones, haven’t tried this just yet. When I cycle, no music, just nature and the sound of my surroundings. During Jazzercise, I pay attention to my form in the mirror most of the time…totally not shy to see myself in the mirror especially during lifting as well for my form.

I haven’t noticed anything about the dissappearance of my posts but not sure what that would be.


Jen April 11, 2010 at 9:24 am

I used to always listen to music while, but ever since my iPod broke I have been running sans tunes. My thinking, much like yours, varies. Sometimes I actually get into deep thinking mode and think about goals, family, happiness, writing goals, etc. Other times, especially during speed work or long runs, I concentrate on my breath. It’s almost like a meditation. In through my nose, out through the mouth, in, out, in, out… It really is one of the only times I can calm my mind :) Just writing this makes it so I can’t wait to strap on those shoes and go for a long run!


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