Mindful Running: How to turn your run into a meditation
Whether you’re a hardcore multi-marathon runner or just an occasional 3 mile jogger, chances are if you’ve spent time pounding the streets, parks or a treadmill, you’ve had moments when you’ve drifted off completely into your own thoughts. That can be a useful thing sometimes but it can also prevent you from getting the most out of your run, both mentally and physically. Mindful running is the antidote.
Why do I need mindful running in my life?
Some people claim to do their best creative thinking while on the hoof. But the downside of letting your mind race at the same time as your feet, is your thoughts can get stuck in work, recalling things you’ve forgotten to do or wish you’d said and replaying stressful scenarios. So instead of the big, relaxing endorphin release you hoped for, you end up more anxious than you started.
Being more connected to movement can help reduce anxiety, depression, stress and pain. And if you’re able to be more mindful during your run, you can think about your form, soak up your surroundings, and allow your thoughts to float away without being disruptive.
Your personal best
Also, it’s safe to assume that when Mo Farrah won his Olympic finals he wasn’t worrying about his tax returns on the home straight. If you really want to achieve your true PB you need to get into The Zone. Composing an email to a client in your head, is not the way to succeed.
So one way to ensure you’re performing at the peak of your ability and getting maximum mental health benefits from your run is to try and leave the thinking behind and let your body and mind to work together.
What is mindful running?
The clue is in the title. It’s combining the practice of mindfulness and running, body and soul, into one life-enhancing pursuit.
A lot of people find the idea of meditation and mindfulness, of not thinking about anything at all, both boring and terrifyingly difficult at the same time. Running is actually an ideal place for those people to give it a try, because it is a ring-fenced hour or so of ‘me time’ where you can’t be tempted by a screen or distracted by a significant other. You’re halfway there already!
How do you do it?
The basic idea is to prevent your mind from wandering off into work or back into memories, by focussing on the present, on the passage of time, on your surroundings – sights, sounds, smells, sensations – and most importantly, paying close attention to the physical and emotional signals from your body as it adapts and reacts to the exertion – your breathing, heart rate, your skin, muscles, bones, the wind on your face, the pleasure and the pain. It also encourages you to be more mindful of your hydration and the effect that sweating out electrolytes like Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium and Chloride has on your energy, muscles etc. Which is why Lucozade Sport Fitwater – which rehydrates you at the same time as replenishing your electrolytes, are championing the mindful running movement with us here at BALANCE.
OK I’m sold. How do I get started?
Sure you can have a go at doing it on your own, but we’ve got an even better idea.
We’ve teamed up with Lucozade Sport Fitwater and mindful running crew, ChasingLights Collective, to bring you a 5K mindful running workshop in Battersea on 4 August, 2018. Discover how to run lighter, breathe easier, reduce chance of injury and focus on quietening the mind. Plus, meet great new people and enjoy delicious artisanal food and drinks at beautiful bar restaurant No. 29 Power Station West.
Don’t worry if you’re not a seasoned runner, or haven’t run in a long time. The focus is not on speed or distance, the focus is on connecting the dots between mind and body, to improve your overall experience of running.
DATE: Saturday 4 August (from 10am)
LOCATION: Meet at No. 29 Power Station West, Battersea
LEVEL: Beginners to future race runners and everyone in-between
BALANCE BONUS: Everyone who attends will receive a goody bag packed with wellness products and healthy treats