The Art of Switching Off

Written By Tyson Popplestone

More isn’t always better.

You already knew that.

Athletes seem to understand it better than most people. It’s the reason we have days allocated to taking it a little easier. Resting. Recovering. We realise that in order for our performance to improve, we need to create the environment for the work that we put in to be absorbed.

Physically, it makes sense.

But here’s the thing; we often limit the rest we take to be only a physical thing. If we’re resting our body, we assume we’re resting.

But that kind of rest ignores the energy that our mind uses. You know, the energy that our mental noise runs on. You may know about mental energy.

Because running is a complex blend of both physical and mental energy, it’s important we learn to nurture ourselves in both of these areas. With that said, I want to spend a moment with a solution to help you find rest for your mind.


 Let me explain.

Our mind is like the ocean. Sometimes the surface is rough, but when you dive down deep enough below the surface, there’s a calm, a peace, a rest. Meditation is simply creating a space where we can temporarily dive down underneath the chaotic surface of our mind.

There’s a rest available in that space.

Good rest.

Like, complete rest.

Taking some time to recover mentally, helps us rejuvenate and build the energy required to fully focus on the training and racing. But even more than just training and racing, it’s a tool we can use to reduce stress from our life. It also helps us remove ourselves from the preconceived ideas of what we think we’re capable of, what people have said about us, what we want to achieve, stress and anxiety.

It’s easier than you might think: Here’s the simple guide.

  1. Find a quiet place to sit
  2. Breathe in, count 1 – breathe out, count 2
  3. Do this for ten breaths
  4. Start again
  5. When you catch your mind wandering, come back to your breath
  6. Repeat for a time limit you’re comfortable with

Initially you might find it impossible. You won’t be able to focus on your breath as you’ll keep getting sucked into your thoughts. Don’t worry, that’s normal.

After some time, you’ll gradually improve stepping away from everything racing through your mind and come to a calm presence of your breath. Where your mind will rest.

Your body will thank you.

Give it a go.

Start with the Headspace app if you need some guidance.




Having spent over 10 years as a middle distance runner, Tyson Popplestone has represented Australia at the World University Cross Country Championships (2010) , has a 3000m PR of 8mins 10 seconds, won the 2011 Melbourne Marathon 10km and took out the 2011 Victorian Mile Championships (as seen in the video below). A recurring sinus problem forced him to retire from running a few years back and since then Tyson has not stopped striving to achieve and inspire. He’s attempted to climb Everest amongst other things and now write’s his blog ‘The Art of Intention.’ On a weekly basis, Tyson will be writing a blog on RT with a personal focus on the world of athletics and the things that inspire him around it.