I recently had the question posed to me “What do I do when I’ve ticked off all my major running goals?” This person had set the goal of running a marathon. They started with short runs and gradually built up to longer events and eventually the marathon. They don’t have a burning desire run longer or even much faster, but they do love running and are now feeling a bit lost without a goal to focus on.
I think I’ve been asked this question, or a version of this question a lot of times over the years. If you are a goal oriented person, and let’s face it, many runners are, it is a bit of an odd situation to be in as a runner without a so called “finish line” in mind.
To answer this question, I reflected back on the last 15 years or so of my own running experience and noted that I had at times been in a similar situation. At one point I was focused on getting my marathon finishing time down each year and soon realized that that wasn’t really motivating me to get the most out of myself. Then I dived deeper into trail running and found that it added another dimension to my running and really tapped into my adventurous side. After completing a bunch of races with the goal of being competitive, I set my sights on some runs that offered more than a strong field of competitors and a challenging course, but instead required me to forget about racing and instead focus more on something bigger. Something more profound.
This is where I discovered Immersion Running.
This is what I call taking on an event that not only pushes your physical boundaries, but takes you to a place beyond your current state of reality.
An immersion run should be something that scares you a little. Or perhaps a lot.
It exposes you to landscapes and environments that command your full attention.
It scrapes away your first world problems and holds them out in front of you so you can see how unimportant they really are.
It colours your vision in a way that makes everything appear crisper and more vibrant.
Immersion runs forcefully remove you from your perception of life and show you something else.
You won’t find the term “Immersion Run” on an event website, and in most cases the only way you’ll know you are signing up for one is to ask those who have completed it what it was like. At that point, they are likely to just smile, pause, and then say something like “Man, you gotta do it”.
If you are a track your splits, monitor caloric intake, strava addicted kind of person, getting to the point where you are running in full immersion can be a challenge. This is about as close to the concept of ‘Running Wild’ as we can get and seems to transcend all the things that we THINK are important to us, only to reveal that what is really important is your body, movement and a curiosity to explore both the world around us and that which lies within.
Go on, immerse yourself.