Top Ten Characteristics of a Holistic Runner

By Rick Morris

A holistic runner is, in essence, a well rounded, well grounded and well founded runner. (Sorry about the rather feeble attempt at poetry). A holistic runner is usually a highly experienced runner and is a lifelong runner that is not defined or limited by any rules or guidelines. They run simply for the sake of running. Holistic runners can’t be placed in a box, so it’s impossible to put specific characteristics on them. But, there are a number of characteristics that are common among holistic runners. Here are out top ten characteristics of a holistic runner.

Spirited Running

If you love what you do, you’ll be more successful. A holistic runner is the most successful type of runner because they engage in spirited running. Be happy and jubilant when you run. Rejoice in your ability and freedom to run. You’ll be a more successful and positive runner.

Spiritual Running

Running isn’t just a physical activity for a holistic runner, it’s also has a meta-physical component. The rhythm and physical exertion has a spiritual, nonphysical side that is mentally refreshing and rejuvenating. Many distance runners describe the runners high as an almost out of body experience. This spiritual side of running is one of the greatest benefits of distance running.

Multi Faceted Running

The idea behind holism is that something cannot be determined by its singular components. Instead it must be taken as a whole or sum of all its parts. A holistic runner does not focus on one component of running, choosing instead to be an all around runner. A holistic runner will respect and perform all distances from short sprints to very long distance running. A holistic runner will run all paces from very easy endurance runs to all out sprint pace in both races and training runs. A holistic runner runs on the road, trail, track or cross country. This multi faceted approach to training and racing makes a holistic runner fitter, more well rounded and versatile than a single approach runner.

Bare Naked Running

Many distance runner are too pre occupied with the technology of running. They become slaves to their heart rate monitors, training watches and high tech. A holistic runner takes a more natural approach to running. They learn to run by feel rather than technological feedback. They run without heart rate straps or timing watches. Many holistic athletes run barefoot. Try stripping your running back to its bare naked basics. Just go out and run. Run easy, run hard, run long, run short, run uphill and downhill. Practice the ability to propreoceptively know your pace. Run naturally, the way you were intended to run. Bare naked running will make you a more instinctive runner that can instantly adapt to changing situations. You will become a happier, stronger, more injury resistance and successful runner.

No Limits

As you become a more holistic runner you will break out of your running “box”. There will no longer be limits to your running because you will have learned that you can go anywhere with your running. Your body will do anything your mind and spirit tell it to do. Don’t set any limits on yourself. Allow your running to come to you not the other way around.

Sense of Balance

One common mistake made by many runners is being tied down to their training plan. There is no question that you need a plan, but all plans need some flexibility. There will always be times when work schedules, social responsibilities, weather conditions, illness or injury can interrupt your planned schedule. A holistic runner is able to balance all of their other responsibilities with their running life. They can easily adapt and adjust on the fly. Running is a big part of your life but always try to keep things in balance.

Embrace the Pain

Running isn’t an effort free activity. Running is fun, but it’s usually somewhat difficult and often includes pain and discomfort. A holistic runner has learned to embrace the pain. A holistic runner looks at the pain of distance running as both an opportunity and a challenge. Pushing through the pain is an opportunity to improve themselves both physically and mentally. It’s another challenge that they can take on and beat. Running hard and embracing the pain will also improve your performance as a competitive runner.

Self Awareness

One of the most critical components of a holistic runner is self awareness. A self aware runner knows who they are and what they are capable of. As you know, it’s not an uncommon occurrence for negative thoughts to sometimes drift into your mind when fatigue becomes to play a factor in your running. A non-self aware runner may let those negative thoughts define them and they will begin to fail. A holistic runner with strong self awareness has the ability to choose the thoughts that define them. They can revert to positive thinking and continue to a successful finish rather than passively allow the negative thoughts to sabotage their run. Self awareness also allows a runner to successfully determine the type of running, their pace and their strategy that is best for their abilities.

Receptive Running

I have coached many runners over the years and it has always saddened me when I run across athletes that are closed minded. They believe there is only one way to train, only one way to run or only one race distance that is considered worthy. That type of runner is limiting their chances of being a successful runner in the long run (pun intended) because they will never be balanced or well rounded. A holistic runner knows that there are many legitimate ways to train. All training methods from classic base training to multi pace training have their place in their running arsenal. They know that all race distances deserve respect, from 100 meters to the ultra marathon. Be receptive to all training methods and race distances, you will become a much more successful, proficient and positive runner.

Hang Loose

Holistic runners are also even tempered and well grounded runners. A holistic runner won’t get down on themselves after a poor performance in a race or training run. At the same time, a holistic runner won’t become arrogant or over confident after setting a new PR or beating their competition to the finish line. A holistic runner understands that there are a lot of ups and downs during their running career and they don’t let those fluctuations affect them either physically or mentally.