Meditation and Running

I like to meditate. . . it’s not what you think. 

I don’t have a beautiful alter with candles and crystals channelling the energy around me, nor do I have a special pillow to sit, on or flowy clothing that gets me in the mindset.  I would love to have all those things. Can you imagine how calming that would be? But if I had to meditate in a specific space,  with specific items, I’d never do it. Instead, I meditate sitting at my desk with all my electronics casting a blue glow on my face, in the car with my headphones in and the windshield wipers swishing back and forth, or laying on the floor, cold floorboards propping me up. 

I find myself meditating in these completely usual settings for one reason only: the moments I need to meditate happen in completely usual circumstances. Meditation is time I dedicate to relaxing my brain, a few minutes I give myself permission to turn off and do absolutely nothing. And sometimes when I turn it back on I’m able to keep the unnecessary thoughts at bay and focus on what’s needed. So, you’ll find me meditating at my desk when I can’t keep my attention on work, in the car before an important meeting, and laying on the floor after my pre-run warmup

Simply I meditate where I am, when I need it. 

Why meditate before my run, you may ask? Spending time clearing my head before a run helps me turn my focus inward and connect with my body. From there, I can better evaluate where I am at and if I should be doing the workout on the calendar (more on this topic in the coming months). Understanding where my body is in the moment helps me have more, good workouts and fewer injuries throughout the year. 

My meditation sessions aren’t long. I would love to spend 15 minutes at a time with a blissfully blank mind, but I can’t. Anything longer than 3 - 5 minutes and my mind starts to spin out of control, and I can end up in some pretty strange places. The opposite effect I’m going for. So I work within my limitations, starting at 3 mins and allowing myself a few more if able. 

Are you thinking of starting a mediation practice? Setting aside a few minutes before a run can be a good place to start. 

A couple of things to remember before you get going:

  1. At first you may feel that your mind got busier, this is completely normal. What’s likely happening is you’re beginning to notice how busy your mind really is. 
  2. Thoughts WILL pop into your head during your practice, that’s what your brain was build to do.  There is no way to prevent it. 

Now that we have that out of the way, here is the simple method I use before my run:

  1. Find your spot - usually laying on the floor for me.
  2. Set a timer for 3 to 5 minutes - you may even want to start with 1 or 2 minutes.
  3. Take 3 deep breath, eyes open - use this time to begin to relax and clear your mind. 
  4. At the end of the 3rd breath, close your eyes.
  5. Focus on the rise and fall of the body with each breath - you may want to try counting the breath to give yourself something to focus on.
  6. When thoughts pop into your mind, and they will, see if you can watch them float away.
  7. At the end of your time, slowly open your eyes.
  8. Take a moment to do a body scan and ask yourself "how I should run". 
  9. Head out the door!