My son’s lacrosse team had a stellar year–they were undefeated in their regular season, and made it to the quarter finals of the NCAA playoffs for their division.
The coach credits their success to their ability to play by the team mantra:
Focus on this game, this quarter, this goal.
In the beginning of the season, the focus on this game helped them concentrate on their current opponent instead of their daunting goal of a perfect season.
Towards the end of the season, the focus on this game reminded them that they couldn’t rest on the laurels of their winning record if they wanted to continue advancing.
When they got behind in a game, the focus on this quarter helped them play their best despite the mistakes they’d made during the first half.
When their opponent’s score seemed insurmountable, the focus on this goal helped them come back, one point at a time.
I try to apply the same focus when I am running. When I set out on a long run, I may not feel up to running the 8 or 10 miles I have planned. When I have chosen a hilly route, I may be dreading the biggest hill. If it is a sunny day, I may feel hot and tired just thinking about how hot and tired I will feel when I’m done. But if I catch myself doing this, and focus on running this mile, my run goes much better, no matter how long, how hilly, or how hot.
It may seem strange to apply yoga practice to running, but I think yoga has taught me how to be more present in my runs. When I focus on this mile, I notice the effort my body is making now. I check my form. I control my breathing. I pay attention to how I feel at the moment. When I focus on this mile, I appreciate the scenery. I notice the slight breeze. I watch the birds flit ahead of me on the path. When I focus on this mile, I get to that last mile without having dreaded that hill, or the heat, or feeling tired. When I focus on this mile, every mile is more enjoyable.
How often are you able to focus on this one?