Being ‘mindful’ in the chaos of a runner’s life.
It’s 5:30 on a Wednesday. You need to be across town for interval training at 6:30 pm (it happens to be ‘hills’). Emails are mounting in your inbox, texts are arriving every 6 minutes, you’re still upset about that situation with a co-worker and lastly, you forgot to charge your Garmin.
This is just a day in the life of one runner trying to keep ahead of the daily chaos of what seems like a world spinning out of control. Juggling work, family and friends can literally drive one ‘crazy.’ In fact, 9 out of 10 people agree we would be much happier and healthier if we could slow down and live in the moment. (Source: UK Mental Health Foundation)
Enter, Mindfulness Meditation & ‘Living in the Moment’
For some of us mindfulness meditation sounds a bit ‘hokey’. Like something you’d have to fly half way across the world to sit cross-legged, palms-up and barefoot on a floor to do in silence for months. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but we can tell you, mindfulness meditation can be tremendously important to helping you reach your running goals. Plus, you don’t need to be religious or burn incense sticks to enjoy it.
Data suggests mindfulness meditation is here to stay. The documentary, ‘Free the Mind’, tracked an experiment that used yoga and meditation to assist soldiers with PTSD and children with ADD. Through mindfulness practices, the soldiers and children were better able to ‘quiet’ their minds, leading to a host of associated benefits like better sleep, reduced negative emotions and greater ability to concentrate.
But, what the heck is ‘mindfulness’?
‘Mindfulness” literately means ‘paying attention.’ It means we are focused on the moment at hand. It’s about living in the moment. It’s about not getting lost in thoughts or emotions that can drive one crazy. Mindfulness is also a set of techniques to be aware of our thoughts or feelings so we can deal with them properly. It has its routes in Buddhism, but you do not have to be religious to practice it!
How can mindfulness meditation help a runner?
As runners who lead hectic lives, we need to learn how to de-stress off the road, so we can better perform on the road. We know that our mental state and health is a major factor in our ability to achieve our running goals. If something bothers us at work or home it will affect our performance on the road. Although we may run to ‘clear our minds’, mindfulness provides us an enhanced alternative way to deal with our home, work and training challenges, without letting them consume us. It takes some discipline, but you can do it. After all, you run 5k, 10k, half and full marathons for crying out loud!
Simple Mindfulness Exercise (10 minutes)
Find a position that is comfortable and one that isn’t going to put you to sleep.
- Close your eyes and begin to take notice of your breathing.
- Focus on your in-and-out breathing.
- Count anytime you come to the end of an out breath.
- If you got lost in your thoughts, just come back to your breath.
- Repeat the exercise for 10 minutes.
There, you just mindful meditated.
You know what is amazing? You can easily do to the above prior to any run. This will give you a way to approach day-to-day running life, which helps you to move ahead with the reality of situations without getting stuck in them. In time, you will see negative thoughts as ‘clouds in the sky’ rather then a mental rainstorm.
Note: for more advanced mindfulness programs, see the ‘Resources’ section at the end of this blog.
You may also experience:
- Increased ability to solve problems.
- More compassion for others
- Greater life satisfaction and well being
- Better at work, home and road performance
At Pace & Mind, we believe a runner’s mental health is just as important as there physical health. We encourage all our runner’s to take advantage of the plethora of resources available and include it as part of their cross-training program we offer each runner. Mindfulness mediation can be a powerful tool to heal our mental health and improve our performance on and off the road.
Wishing you good mental health,
~ Team Pace & Mind
Mindfulness Course: VISIT
Book: Coming to Our Senses: VISIT
About Pace & Mind
Pace and Mind offers premium coaching for runners to increase their performance both on and off the road. Our premium coaching is lead by Rejean Chiasson, an elite Canadian Marathon Champion. Our coaching programs are highly customized to the runner who dreams of their first 5k to the runner who dreams of their first sub-3 hour marathon. You have one life to live. #runforyourlife
Visit our Coaching Programs or contact us to learn more about our services: coaching, group runs & routes, health and wellness tips and community events.