Finding Your Cadence

I have signed up for my first half marathon.  This is a big stretch for me, since the longest distance I’ve ever run is a 10K (or 6.2 miles).  In approximately two months time, I have committed to run 13.1 miles, and my training has begun.

If you enjoy running, then you will appreciate the reference of finding your cadence.  If you are not a runner, then I would guess the idea of rhythm and zone apply in some other area of your life.  When starting any new challenge, the first part is the hardest.  When I began running more about a year ago, it was all I could do to complete a one mile run without walking.  It wiped me out!  Now, the first mile of my run allows me to warm up, get the aches and pains out of my knees and legs, and find my rhythm.  The first mile sets the pace and mindset for the rest of my run.  I use my smartphone with a running log app to give me updates on my time and distance.

I have found that using a self check system (with the assistance of my running app) forces me to pay close attention to  my breathing and speed.  If I’m going too fast, my body will feel it later. Too slow, and my cadence is off.  It takes getting into mile 2 and 3 before I know if I’ve found my cadence.  How do I know?  The running feels effortless.  I’m not struggling to breathe, my legs feel good, and each step is an automatic extension of my momentum.

Here’s one thing I forgot to include: I have asthma. I was diagnosed as a teenager, and had to quit the soccer team and switch to tennis because I couldn’t breathe while exercising.  I carry an inhaler with me when I run, but the best way for me to keep my breathing in check is focusing on my mind overcoming my body’s objections.  The cadence that I force myself into is a disciplined act of deep breathing, and putting one foot in front of the other.

As you define your cadence, identify a project that forces you to step up your game.  Getting started is not going to be easy, and quitting seems like the more comfortable approach.  If you utilize tools to keep you in check, and set small stretch goals, anything is possible.  Maybe even a half marathon.

No Judgment Zone

Deepak Chopra shares a beautiful part of his life with readers in his book “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.”  In his book, he encourages you to “bring a gift” every time you meet with someone.  At first, I thought this concept was a little extreme.  He was asking me to come up with a gift each and every time I met with someone.  The wonderful part about his request, is that your gift didn’t need to cost anything, and you didn’t have to tell the person you were meeting with that you were even giving them a gift.  His gifts consisted of anything from a prayer, good thoughts, or even a small token – a flower picked from a garden on the way to the meeting.

In bringing your said “gift” with you, you are also embarking on a quest to put yourself into a “no judgement zone.”  How often to we encounter a person or situation and automatically place judgement on it?  If someone doesn’t look like us, dress like us, parent like us, work like us, believe like us – are they less valuable to us?

When a young Bill Gates was growing up in Washington State, his parents encouraged friendships with other families that were different from theirs.  In creating an environment where differences were embraced, Bill and his sisters had the opportunity to experience healthy relationships that weren’t necessarily like the household they lived in everyday.  The Gates family “no judgement zone” paved the way for their family to create an environment of creativity, philanthropy and prosperity – and I’m not just talking about monetary value.

Put yourself into a “no judgement zone” today.  See how you think, react and feel.  Do you hear more, see more and learn more?  Do others respond to you in a different way?