May 18, 2010

In the Zone?

Many would agree with me that one of the most enjoyable rewards of working out is the time spent being in the "Zone". Where it may not be the prime factor that defines a really great run for me, the absence of finding that place in any workout certainly classifies it as an rather unpleasant one!

While being in the zone applies to states of being not inclusive to exercising, it is the one where I most frequently can attain it. No one can tell you you are in the zone but you, as I believe it is an individual experience, and I can tell you when I'm in it, but it's not a place that I can get too by repeating the same conditions workout to workout. I consider myself in the zone when the stiffness and fatigue of warming up have faded, my pace feels comfortably hard, at a level and intensity I can maintain for a while and I feel like I have infinite energy. My mind becomes free from concentrating too much on my workout, form, steps or whatever I am doing and I am just enjoying moving. But then again, I am totally focused on that workout as well, outside thoughts and environmental factors diminish, my body is snyched with what I am doing and whatever I am doing feels almost effortless. I am relaxed, happy and confident.

One thing is certain though, the harder I try to get there, the less likely I am TO get there. At least with me, I need to be relaxed to let the body and mind work together in that wonderful unison. One reason I think I don't enjoy strength training workouts is because it's so much easier to get into that zone feeling while doing steady paced cardio such as running, cycling, and dancing or a yoga routine I know well. The body sort of goes on autopilot with those type of workouts.

Other conditions that make it harder to reach the zone are injuries, weather (too hot, too cold, etc.), location (being inside on treadmill vs. outside, gym, etc.) and mood. Though, sometimes when I am feeling most fatigued and fowl when I head out, I am surprised with wonderful zone moments regardless--can't figure that one out!

With all this in mind, I intend to be more mindful of the times I am in the zone, appreciate it and certainly enjoy the times I am there!

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