What places do you like to explore? What are you curious about? What are the stories you love telling your friends?
We’re so busy rushing around, our eyes on the screen in front of us and our minds looping through what we have to do the rest of the week, we forget to feed our internal “adventure seeker” when we go running. We treat the experience as a chore, rather than an adventure.
The best runners and walkers are those that are endlessly curious. They’re open to new places, new ideas and collecting new experiences. That’s how they keep it fresh.
Think of running as a treasure hunt and an adventure. Explore your local community, your city, your region, your world and your potential.
As a running coach, I try to spark that curiosity in my clients. Get them asking…
What’s around that next corner?
What’s part of town I don’t know much about?
Where’s a trail I haven’t explored?
For me, there’s always a park I haven’t seen, an alley way that would make a good “get away” if I was chased by zombies ;), or a piece of art of graffiti I’ve walked passed a hundred times and never admired.
When I hear people say that running is boring…my first question is, Where do you go running?
More often than not, these are the people that stay comfortably bored within their 3km comfort zone from their house or work. They put in their headphones on the same electronic music that’s supposed to motivate them, go along the same route but that’s not the problem – they don’t look up or within!
There are experiences you can collect wherever you are in the world, you’ve just got to be prepared to open your eyes and occasionally go into the unknown. Running should be a treasure hunt.
Keep your chin up and an open mind and you’ll discover all the best things about your neighbourhood.
You’ll notice the local cafe, what today’s special is at the local grocery store, you spot the new house on the block your neighbour was telling you about, the ugly dog down the road, the short-cut to the bus stop, the news headlines and the might even sniff out some juicy local goss 😉
The thing is, if you’re curious and present in the moment – you’ll find running a lot more motivating.
As you get better, you’ll nudge your running territory. Why not spend five minutes on a bike or car to new part of town you want to check out?
You can discover the hidden forest trails of the park to get your daily nature fix, run past the new coffee shop your friend was telling you about, the street art on the corner you’d never seen before, the next perfect romantic picnic spot, or the sunrise no one else saw.
Here’s the thing, the further you can run (easily) the more experiences you can collect.
The equation is not, “If I can run twice as far, I can see twice as much”. You can see so much more because you can create so many more combinations and mix up your routes. It eventually leads to you being able to run in a few hours the tracks most walkers take a day to complete.
What really motivates me is being out in beautiful pockets of nature. On the coast, in the forest, up the mountains, through the wetlands, by the beach…these are the places that energise me and make me feel happy.
These experiences are enriching, rewarding and fun to share. New Zealand is still a natural paradise if you know where to look. This was my adventure in Northland just the other week.
Even if you don’t want to go far, there’s so many inspiring places you can go to even within a 40 minute drive from the city. For example, these were just 10 examples of fun beginner trails in Auckland that are under 5km long.
There is nothing better than travelling the world on your own two feet. If you can run, you can beat 99% of the tourists in almost any destination around the world. Wake up early, put your shoes on and head out before the mobs flood the best spots of the city.
Personally, I’ve been privileged and trained enough to run though the most stunning old cities in Europe and South America. London, Munich, Berlin, Stockholm, Oslo, Budapest, Prague, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Rio and even Mexico City. You see so much more when you’re in charge of where and how fast you go.
Finally, running is also about collecting insights about yourself. How do you deal with adversity? How do you make your own fun? How do you find the motivation to head out when the conditions aren’t quite right?
Running for me is not about the exercise for your body as it is about your mindset. It’s a chance to process what’s going on in your internal world. I think this is the most exciting part of running.
Today for example, I collected 3 new park reserves, 4 new alley ways, 1 “lost” coastline track, 1 submerged coastline track, 5 dead-ends, 3 steep streets I want to avoid next time, 2 tracks to come back to, 3 new stairs, 6 new pieces of street art, 2 new potential “romantic picnic spots”. And that’s within 10k of my home.
As a bonus I rediscovered 1 forgotten childhood memory, 2 new business ideas and 1 more reason to believe I am capable of more than I think. Not a bad horde from a mornings run.
What’s life but a game of collecting experiences? The more you see, the more you know. The more you know, the more you can share. The more you share, the more people care about you.
So next time you go out walking or running – take your curiosity off the leash and find your own treasure.
Like my page to get daily inspiration
I post daily with fresh videos on mindset & running