Thursday, December 6, 2012

Zone out to Get in the Zone: Running & Studying

First of all: I want to apologize in advance for more sparse posts this month, I am taking the GRE at the end of December (ahhhhhhh!) and my studying is kicking into high gear. Hopefully I'll be able to do the same amount of posts, but more will be restaurants reviews and random thoughts, and less recipes since recipe posts and recipe testing take so much more time. I promise that after December 31st I'll go back to posting more recipes, but the lack of recipes doesn't mean a lack of exciting posts!
Giveaway this Month!: Sometime in the month of December I will be doing a giveaway of the amazing cookbook "Happy Herbivore Abroad" by Lindsay S. Nixon. I was also sent a free copy of the book to review, and thus far the recipes have been delicious! I have made a vegan paella and an amazing vegan cassoulet that my dad and brother were both in love with.

Running Question: Where do you all stand on zoning out during a run? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this in the comment section!
yep, still riding that runners high.....half an hour after my
run was finished ;)
My Answer: My personal opinion is that I should try to be fully aware of my surroundings on all my runs, and usually be aware of my pace and breathing for the sake of getting faster and getting a great workout BUT every once in awhile I think it's nice to just go out for a run with no pressure and just let your mind roam free. I had one of these "free runs" earlier today and it was awesome; no garmin watch, no time goal, and no distance goal......just running until I felt like stopping. I don't know how fast I was going (I would guess somewhere around 9:30 or 10:00 minute miles) but I got to think about so many things that I have going on, and actually figured out how to deal with a few issues that I have been unsure of how to deal with. I also clearly organized my schedule for the rest of my day, and came up with a much better study plan than what I was doing before. Running provides a lot of mental clarity, and it a great time to think about things that are bothering you or are at the back of your mind during the day but that you rarely get to address. By running and letting myself zone out for the entire run, I was able to run off a lot of stress I have, and was actually able to focus better when it came time for me to study.
Tips for going on a "free run":
- Go on a route that you have run before: Going on a run where you plan on zoning out is no time to try a new route
- Go on a SAFE route: This is pretty straightforward, but make sure you are running in safe neighborhoods where runners are visible to drivers and there are wide roads for drivers to make room for runners
- Don't listen to music: It is important to still be somewhat aware of your surroundings, so if you are already zoning out on your run, you definitely don't want to get rid of the sounds surrounding you, because these can be important safety cues.
- No Watch: Leave your pace watch behind; there should be no pressure to hit a certain pace or a certain distance, just run for yourself and for your mental clarity.

Life: Studying
In the Zone: Oddly enough, zoning out on my run allowed me to "get in the zone" for my GRE studying. I have been studying for this test for a couple of months, but the studying is kicking into high gear this month since my test is on December 31st. I came up with a much better study plan and study schedule during my run than what I had intended on doing earlier, and thus far it is working out great. I also got to sort out a lot of other things I have going on during my run, so my mind was totally clear when it came time to study.
It's pretty embarrassing but I am pretty much studying all day, errr day, with the exception of my workouts, running random errands, and making dinner for my family. Don't worry, I'm not a total hermit, I still go out with friends every once in awhile, but I am definitely being less social this month than normal since I need to get as much studying in as possible. All in all, even though I spent almost 2 hours running, it made the time that I DID spend studying so much more productive, and it was completely worth it! Sorry I don't have any studying words of wisdom, but studying is a very individual tasks, and each person has something that works well for them. For me I work best with writing things down, and them memorizing what I have written down; I also really benefit from practicing problems similar to what will be on the test. So that's what I'm sticking to, memorizing techniques, tricks, and vocabulary......... and doing lots of practice problems. Oh yeah, and getting a good run in before a study sesh always helps!

Good luck to everyone with their studies; I know many of you are studying for finals right now and I wish you all the best!

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