Running by feel is the best way to run. However, you cannot always trust your feel for running in any given moment. Often, you may feel multiple sensations simultaneously, some of which are mutually contradictory. For example, the pain of an incipient injury might tell you to stop, while your work ethic and your addiction to running might tell you to keep going. To consistently choose the right feeling to trust, you must cultivate the capacity to step back and observe yourself objectivelyor, if not objectively, then from a perspective based on accumulated wisdom. You must cultivate mindfulness. This process will proceed most rapidly and efficiently if you make a conscious commitment to it, but a good guide can help it along. In this book, I will be your teacher of mindful, or mind-body, running. It’s not that I am such a great expert in the practice. I will be the first to admit that Haile Gebrselassie, Steve Jones, and Alberto Salazar have mastered this skill much more fully than I ever will. I make many mistakes, am still learning, and have a lot more to learn. There is a difference between a role model and a guide, however. While my contact with great runners and coaches who have mastered the practice of mindbody running and my study of the brain’s role in running enable me to volunteer myself as your guide to running by feel, it is the runners and coaches who have figured it out for themselves, each in his or her own way, who will be your primary role models in these pages.
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