Have you wondered how to make each run as fun and enjoyable as your very first few runs?
Or maybe you’ve heard about the state of mind some runners talk about, called Flow?
Perhaps you already practise mindfulness and would like to find practical ways of applying it to your running?
If any of the above have got you thinking you’d like to know more about mindfulness and running then I’m really pleased to tell you that this article is going to shed some light on this.
Many of us have heard of mindfulness, that you can achieve a better quality of running in your life, and maybe a better quality of life as a result of running mindfully.
My own eureka moment came about because I was curious.
I’d worked for several years on improving my own running training, working out how the elite professional runners trained, how to avoid injury, how to build a really effective training program that any runner could use.
Once I’d developed this I kept on finessing and improving it but the more I worked on this physical aspect the more I realised there was a disaparity – I hadn’t worked on the mental side of my training.
So I went in search of anything I could find to see how really successful runners achived peak mental fitness.
What I found surprised me.
Mainly because there was a distinct shortage of quality information out there on this topic. Initially I found a smattering of psychology books which were applicable to sports, which led me to sports psychology literature more specifically, but still there was so little to really benefit the runner.
I applied what I could from the research I’d carried out, and found some useful practices which helped me.
For more information on how running alters your brain take a look at this article I wrote on the subject.
It was only when I started to give thought to mindfulness meditation in my life more generally that I started to understand that it might also apply to running.
Then came my eureka moment.
I was driving along the M6 motorway, a journey at this point that I’d been taking daily for several years, when I became aware of my self (split intentional) and how calm this particular experience of driving was.
Calmness I should point out hadn’t always been a driving companion of mine, I wasn’t what you might call an agressive or angry driver, but I had been feeling more and more over the preceeding months that small things bothered me more on this journey, quite often I realised afterwards just how silly or irrelevant they were, but at the time they filled my thoughts.
I shifted from being interested in mindfulness to realising just how incredibly powerful it could be.
This for me was a paradigm shift. I now understood the possible impact of mindfulness in so many areas of my life.
After all, if this was the impact from just a couple of months, what could I achieve with a more committed practice?
Which brings me round to my earlier point about how you can utilise mindfulness during your runs.
You might well ask how can an activity which requires physical effort also neatly allow for a practice which requires you to focus your mind, and aim for clarity.
In order to answer this we need to dig a little deeper, to focus in on what running and mindfulness encourage of us.
In essence both allow for singularity of effort, in running when we are asked to give either through the application of speed or endurance our bodies and mind unify in one endeavour.
As we attempt to attain mindfulness we equally commit ourselves to a singularity of effort, that of focussing the mind.
I’m really interested in the subject of mindulness and running, if you are too then get in touch – I’d be interested in hearing your experiences and what you’re interested in reading more about in future articles on this subject.
Run with Passion, Geoff