“Intuitive running” is the perfect way to change up your exercise routine

“Intuitive running” is the perfect way to change up your exercise routine

Looking for a way to shake up your exercise routine? Intuitive running could be just the thing…

For most of us, going on a run involves setting a distance or time goal, whether it’s achieving a 5K or running for an hour. But does measuring runs so closely really make you a better runner? Many people are experimenting with something called intuitive running, which means abandoning any methods of measuring your run.

This might sound simple but so many of us refuse to workout now without wearing a fitness watch, so we can track the specifics of our movement. Running without tracking yourself at all is not only a freeing experience but it could also improve your performance.

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The idea of intuitive running is that you let your body decide how long, far and often you run, rather than setting specific distance or time goals. For beginners, it can be a great way of learning to enjoy running and for seasoned runners, it might help you push yourself further by helping you get in touch with how much your body can handle.

One TikTok user who practices intuitive running accidentally ran a half marathon on a treadmill by listening and thinking carefully about her body’s limits. “I walked in with a plan to run one mile, hit legs and then leave,” user @chasembyrd says in her video. “However, once I hit the one mile I thought ‘oh wow that felt really good – let me do a quick three mile jog’.”

Eventually, she found that she had run a half marathon, something many people might have thought they’d be able to do with strict training and plans for their runs.

Imogen Boddy, a personal trainer and ultra marathon runner, says that intuitive running is a great way to maintain a positive relationship with exercise: “There are so many pressures with so many aspects of life, exercise and running should be a release from them. Sometimes it’s useful to have a goal but actually other times, taking a big deep breath, popping on a podcast and just listening to your body and running for however long feels necessary is far more important.”

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Kelly, 32, is a long-distance runner and she has found that intuitive running has had a positive effect on her mental health. “I don’t time or track myself because going with the flow helps me feel free, not limited by schedules or time commitments in a chaotic world,” she says. “I think it’s a really important part of my meditation and mental health regime. I don’t like to live restrained by the ‘ticking clock’ or the dread of feeling I ‘should’ be doing something, somewhere all the time. It’s good to live in the moment as much as possible.”

Running intuitively can also be a good way to prevent injuries, as listening to your body and stopping when you feel it’s necessary will prevent you from pushing yourself too far. Equally, sometimes when you set yourself a certain distance or time goal, you may feel like you’re able to run for longer but don’t because you’ve hit your goal, so intuitive running will help you test your limits accurately. 

Milly, 28, has never measured her speed or distance while running. “I love listening to what’s happening around me and have no distractions or pressures to run a certain speed or distance. I like the intuitiveness of this and just running a little bit faster, longer, shorter or slower depending on how my body feels that day.”

Of course, the only downside of intuitive running is that if you’re lacking motivation, you might not run as much or as far as you’d like. But you might also find that the freedom of choice will motivate you more than forcing yourself to workout ever could.

For more running tips, head to the Strong Women Instagram page.

Images: Getty

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