I used to need to be distracted to be able to get through a workout, especially running.
Nowadays, I often look forward to the time for quiet thinking. Not just because it’s quiet (see: elementary band teacher and mom to a loquacious 7-year-old) but because there is something different about the thinking that happens on a trip (or 20) up the bleachers, or a run around the neighborhood.
I’m not totally sure why. Maybe it’s like the thinking that some people do in the shower.
Lots of ideas, some concrete (lesson plans, things to do with various people, ways to renovate the house, things to write about), some abstract.
The thinking isn’t always pleasant, but working through it together with happy-brain chemicals almost always leads me to feel better on the other side.
So I feel like: I used to need to be distracted to avoid whatever was in my brain, but nowadays, I can let it flow, manage it, and move on.
It’s pretty cool.
That said, there is also a component of distracting myself from the task at hand (read: running), but my brain so often is so busy that it can easily take over nearly any task.
Also, I didn’t decide to do this. It started when I was triathlon training. No earphones/earbuds allowed on the course, so I eventually started training without so race day wouldn’t be jarring.
There are some days that I would like my brain just to turn off for a bit and I’ll listen to music or a podcast on those days, and some days I run with a partner (most often but not always The Climbing Daddy), but the rest of the time, I run with just the ambient noise.