Updated: Mar 23, 2020
To grow as a runner...run faster, longer, or simply enjoy it more... embrace the concepts of mindfulness and meditation in running and in life.
All you can control is the present moment, so accept that it feels hard in the present moment. Accept the pain and fatigue and don’t exert extra energy trying to mentally fend it off. It’s that acceptance piece that is key in mindfulness. No single moment is bad. It’s the circumstances surrounding the moment – the perceptions we have and the stories we tell ourselves about what happened in the past and what might happen in the future – that color our perception. Acceptance of the moment overrides perception – it breaks down the totality of the fatigue, pain, fear of pushing too hard – and brings it back to the next breath and the next stride. In that single moment, there is more to give.
Seek out the flow state. Practice the balance of checking in with yourself – both physical and state of mind – but simultaneously dissociating and enjoying the breeze, the heat, the cold, nature around you. Thoughts, sensations, experiences are extremely fleeting. Running to your full potential requires finding that balance of being completely within yourself and outside yourself, acknowledging the effort, but understanding that it’s a perception. Much like mindfulness and meditation, this takes practice. It takes constant practice and can never be mastered…if you do, consider yourself to have acquired Buddha enlightenment! Running to your full potential, therefore, can never be fully mastered…potential is limitless.
Be mindful of the voice in your head. Be your own biggest fan, your own cheerleader. You can’t lift your feet faster if you’re weighing yourself down. Listen to your thoughts – do they lift you up and support your goals? Do they make you feel good about yourself? The bird does not complain about the wind – it builds stronger wings. Light mind, light feet. Positive re-framing of challenges turns your mind from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Fire can burn or destroy – or it can be a source of heat and light. Run towards challenges. Seek out opportunities for growth. Embrace the pain, because it makes you stronger.
You are blessed to run. Sincerely be thankful for the opportunity to hurt – it is the best way to push harder. Thank your legs. Thank your lungs. Thank the ground, the trees, the sun. Find the joy in the challenge, and fly. You can’t separate the rest of your life from running. Observe the events around you. Check in with yourself. Choose how to respond. Every moment is good. Every moment you’re growing. Every moment be grateful.
- Margaret Ho - Trail Transformation Athlete