Running with Intention


When I made a goal of giving intentions to my runs for this month, Catrina @ Keeponrunning was curious to know why. Here ya go!

Fairytales and Fitness

Intention: the end or object intended; purpose

Synonyms: aim, goal, objective, plan, target

What sort of running intention can you set?
I like to have goals; to have something to work towards. My overall intention for running at present? Maintaining my base. That’s the physical part.

Spiritually/Physically, I continue to work on nasal breathing — although I must say I’m not sure how long I want to keep trying, as even after a couple of months it still seems hard — one of my intentions for staying the course with that is to connect mind and body.

Your intentions for running don’t have to be something big. It could be as simple as getting yourself out of the house. Enjoying the feeling of moving your body. These are great intentions!

Or it can be more elaborate: focusing on getting stronger, running further, improving your form so you can run pain free. There are as many intentions as there are runners, and there can be multiple intentions for one runner — even one run!

Intentions aren’t just for running
I’m sure that’s fairly obvious, but sometimes it’s a good thing to state the obvious. Sometimes we forget. You can set an intention for pretty much everything in your life:

  • What to do when you get up.
  • How to treat others.
  • How you want to feel today.
  • Do more ________ (you fill in the blank — set an intention why you want to do it, and maybe you will actually do it).
  • The clothes you choose. How do you intend to present yourself to the world today?


What’s the difference between affirmations and intentions?
I won’t lie — I went looking to other sources, because the truth is that affirmations and intentions are very, very similar. Both are powerful tools, and I suggest that you use both.

Affirmations are a declaration of what you want. You can use them whether or not you believe them to be true — simply by writing them or thinking/saying them to yourself, you are rewiring your brain to believe the affirmations are true. Affirmations should be written as if they are already true.

Some people find affirmations triggering. Some people get frustrated when they don’t come true.

Intentions (by my definition) are bringing mindfulness to everything you do. It’s not what you want, but how you want to feel.

Affirmations are an attempt to change your beliefs. Intentions are to do things with a goal in mind, aka to bring mindfulness to everything you do.

As you can see, there’s a very fine line between affirmations and intentions and this is actually a topic I need to explore more for myself.


Why set intentions?
Whether you call it a goal, use an affirmation, or set an intention for an action — the truth is you still have to do the work. The intention helps you focus on what you want to work on. What you focus on grows.

Actually set an intention before you run, and notice how you feel after your run. After a week of runs. After a month of runs. Does setting an intention for your run keep you more focused? Do you find that you’re reaching that intention more and more?

If you’re still confused, don’t worry! I admit I’m still not 100% sure of the difference between goals, affirmations, and intentions.

Living a life without intentions is just existing. Living intentionally means living a life full of purpose. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Do you think you want to start setting intentions for runs — or do you already do that?

What about using intentions in other areas of your life?

Have you ever used intentions before — and did they make a difference in your life?

GWY Yoga Wrist Warmup

ICYMI: It’s a great idea to warm up those wrists before tackling table top, down dog, and planks. This short video is also a great midday (or anytime) stretch if you’re stuck at a desk — even at home! Especially if you do a lot of typing.  Practice with me in this short video here.

13 thoughts on “Running with Intention

  1. Thank you, Judy! This was very helpful!
    I never thought about the difference between affirmations and intentions. You described it very aptly: “it’s not what you want, but how you want to feel”.
    My intention for running right now is to learn how to run slowly in a very low heart rate zone. It’s harder than it sounds!
    How is it when I intend to focus my thoughts on a particular topic during a run? Let’s say I want to think about a relative, a friend or an upcoming event – is this also intentional running?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny that I seemed to have helped some readers with it, because I’m still not all that clear myself, LOL!

      Try nasal breathing. That’ll slow you down. 🙂 But it won’t necessarily lower your HR — at least it hasn’t for me!

      I did find training by HR (loosely) to be really helpful.

      I absolutely think concentrating on a person or an upcoming even is an intention — and they’re both intentions I use often!

      Of course, an intention is anything *you* want it to be!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Right now my intention to complete 1000k by Aug 31 for the Challenge I posted about today.

    Secondly it is to get outdoors to experience nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It makes so much sense that a yoga instructor would set intentions for her running too. When I used to go to in-person yoga classes, one of my favorite instructors always had us set our intention for each practice. I like that but sometimes I had a tough time coming up with one on the spru of the moment.

    Thanks for explaining the difference between an intention and an affirmation. I never understood the difference before. You taught me something new today!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This makes a lot of sense. I never really thought about how intentions and affirmations differ. This is why you are such a great yoga instructor! Yogis often have a way of seeing things in a different way

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I hadn’t thought of them being different, either. I’m just a baby yoga teacher. 🙂 I may never be more than that since I started teaching so late in life! But maybe I bring something to it because of that. 🙂


  5. This is a great topic! I wasn’t really aware of it, but I guess my goals of each run (or race?) are like intentions…maybe? Some runs I just want to clear my mind, others I want to focus on my form, etc. All of those 5K’s? I was hoping to run them strong (like a tempo pace) with the ultimate goal of having that tempo pace happen without my having to think about it. The jury is still out LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tempos are supposed to be hard. If it just happened, I think you’d need to up the ante on your tempo pace, LOL!

      Have I mentioned how much I detest tempos? Happy to not be doing them right now. 🙂


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