Stay In The Moment

One of the best pieces of advice I share with endurance athletes is to stay in the moment.  It is so easy during a long event to start thinking or even worrying about miles that are yet to come.  This is often all too common when we find ourselves in a mile where we might be struggling.  When things get hard we start to worry about how we can possibly make it to mile 20 when we are only 10 miles into a marathon.


Staying in the mile that you are in and focusing on what you are currently dealing with makes an endurance event much more manageable.  Especially when it comes to marathons, there are far too many miles to start looking too far ahead.  Each mile is different and brings forth different feelings and emotions.  By focusing on the one you are currently in, you can enjoy a race more and worry a lot less.

It is also important to remember that just about any time you go for a run, every mile feels a little different.  Some miles feel awesome and you want to run forever.  Others just plain suck.  It is an ever changing cycle.  Have you ever left for a run and thought, “I feel so great I’m going to go for 10!” only to find that after three miles in, you no longer enjoy the run and want to call it quits?  On the flip side, we have all had runs where we dread even walking out the door.  But after a few miles we find a groove and end up having some of our best miles ever.  These very reasons are why you need to stay in the moment.

While this plays out in races and training, it also is something important to remember in our daily lives.  The past few weeks have been exciting whirlwinds in our household.  We have a little infant who is rolling and trying to crawl and her personality is coming out.  We both have jobs we love and find ourselves so busy it is hard to find time to fit everything in.  And I love the colors and chaos and fun that the holiday season brings.  But we have found ourselves sleep deprived, crazy busy and wondering where we are headed most of the time.

Saturday night we had our first date since Mary was born and went to see the Nutcracker performed by the Joffrey Ballet.   As the lights turned off and the magic of a Christmas story began to play out, I found myself reaching down to look at my watch.  I stopped myself, dropped my shoulders and let my body relax next to my husband.

Life (and running) is a wonderful adventure that is meant to be enjoyed.  By checking myself, I was able to appreciate everything the Nutcracker had to offer.  The athleticism of ballet, the theatrics on the stage, and the beautiful orchestra and chorus brought forth a wonderful story.  It brought me back to the magic I felt during the holiday season as a young girl.  It was a truly special night and a great reminder.


We are often so worried about what the end result will be whether it a race finish or goals in life, that we get so focused on the end and forget to enjoy the process.  Enjoy the holiday season and every day.  Stay in the moment!

16 thoughts on “Stay In The Moment

  1. Staying in the moment when you have so many miles ahead of you can be a real challenge, but it is something that I’ve become better and better at over the years. Or over the miles, I guess I should say. And I can definitely say that it has helped me in the rest of my life as well!

  2. Thank you for this reminder! It’s so important! (I know how it is… Isn’t it crazy how we’ll look to see what time it is, even if we’re having a good time? I’ve done this a few times while on a movie theatre or other theatre too.

  3. Lately, the minimal amount of miles I have been running haven’t felt great. I keep thinking, “How am I going to get through my next marathon training if 8 miles at an ‘easy’ pace feels hard?” I need to make this my mantra over the next few weeks. Thank you.

    • Oh my gosh, are we in the same place right now. I just did 6 and while they felt okay, I was struggling to figure out how I could even do a 10 miler. Illness really wipes you out. But we both know we will be back. And I know you are awesome!

  4. Great advice…yesterday I went through that exact roller coaster on my long run. I hadn’t ran 18 in a while and first 10 miles were great, by mile 15 it was all I could do to just get through one mile at a time.

  5. It really is so important to remember … I think it gets so easy in life to spend too much energy wishing time away – the next race, date, kids home from college, whatever stage we’re at. I remember when we had babies what it was like getting time together alone – we had basically no help, so it was precious, but at the same time really hard to mentally relax and just be present.

    It was funny – Lisa and I did a charity 5k for the local food bank this weekend, and it is a run/walk ‘fun run’, but also timed and certified by the Wineglass Marathon people and so on. I decided to run, Lisa can’t due to joint issues and arthritis – we did a walk/jog for the Komen 5k in May. She was fine, and we did everything together right up until the start. But at the ‘2 minute warning’ she said to me “I’m putting in my earbuds, I’ve lost you” haha – and it was true, my brain had switched over to ‘runner mode’, getting my head into strategy, deciding if I should try to push up through the crowd (wish I had!) and so on. I was no longer ‘with’ her … 🙂

  6. I have a hard time staying in the mile that I’m in. It’s something that I’m working on. That’s what I appreciated about yoga was that I was practicing in staying in the moment. My focus slips the most in the middle miles. Now that I’m getting better at not falling apart at the end of a race, I’m going to apply myself in not losing focus in the middle miles.

  7. staying present in the moment is such an important life lesson for all things: running, quality time w/ people we love, anything that requires us to be fully engaged or learn more about ourselves… and it’s often a lost skill as we are so easily distracted and let our minds wander. good reminder to be mindful.

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