Thinking, Mind Maps And Running

I’ve been thinking.

A lot’s changed over the last year. Many of the things I took for granted have changed significantly.

I think everyone in the world has experienced some significant level of change. So I’m no different than anyone else.

There’s no guarantee there’s going to be any races soon. I’ve been building for the Melbourne Marathon coming up in October. But in Melbourne here we’re in quite a level of lock down. It looks like that race isn’t going to go ahead on the date. They’ve sent out a message looking to potentially postpone the event until December.

I took a complete day off training. Not because I was injured. Not because I was extra tired. Not because i was sick. Only because I had no interest in training that day…

…and that’s out of the ordinary for me.


Lately I’ve noticed I’ve been thinking all the time. It’s not always the most constructive thinking. It’s more a busy head.

So I’ve been paying attention to my habits. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is I’m always switched onto something. Whether it’s scrolling through my phone or having the news on, there’s always information coming in.

For the most part I haven’t had much downtime or been switching off. But you know where I do my best thinking? Where my thinking is constructive. Where it becomes clear. I get to sort through the ideas. File it neatly. Compare thoughts to each other. Basically make the most of what’s going on in my head space.

Even if you’re new here, I’m sure you know the answer.

It’s when i’m running!

When running I don’t deliberately think about a topic. The thoughts more or less just happen. Sometimes they flick by. Other times they linger. But usually it isn’t really a pattern of conscious thought and other times I don’t even notice my thoughts. I don’t get most of my answers on the runs…

…that happens afterwards.

Mind Maps

To make sense of my thoughts and therefore to make good decisions. And decisions are important. That comes with a bit of work after the run.

One technique I use that I find effective are mind maps.

Now there’s many different ways to do mind maps. This is something that works for me. I keep it informal. There’s no strict rules on structure. I draw and write with the flow of my thoughts.

Importantly for me I use pen and paper.

After I’ve drawn and written the mind map i’ll do a quick review. Maybe a couple of super quick edits. Just a little cross out here, or a little note there. I think about it for a moment and then quite often I’ll redo the mind map. See if it takes me in a different place. No real plan, but the idea isn’t just to regurgitate and make it look neater. I try for neater thoughts that can lead to any decisions I need to make.

From that I get to pull out the key points.

drawing mind maps

3 Priotities

I came up with three priorities:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Health

How does running fit in with those priorities?

Pretty simple. Running cannot take away from them. It has to support and enhance them.

The positives I get from running are

  • Health
  • Enjoyment
  • Achievement
  • Goals
  • Clears the mind
  • De-stresses

For achievement and goals racing has been what really fits in there.

Over the last one and a half years for the most part racing has been taken away. I’ve got problems with with that. Cancelled races feels like the effort’s wasted. Training becomes stress in itself. With the extra restrictions I can’t train how i feel I need to in lock down.

I need to work out alternatives. But what if I look at the positives?

I’m still hitting 4 out of the 6!

That’s pretty good. For the achievement and goals, do I need them?

Maybe I can focus on the other 4?

Tthe health, enjoyment, clear mind the de-stressing are worth a lot. They help support my key priorities.

What does that mean for training?

Do i still train hard?

Yeah of course I do!

This is where I’m taking my running. I’m enhancing the enjoyment. Still setting myself up for racing when I get the opportunity. I’m not walking away from it. I still want to do some epic things but I’m not sure exactly what they are. well,

Instead of chasing exact goals I’m going to be open for opportunities, Grab them when they come up.

Keep on running.

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