How to Be Mindful When Running

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Meditation for Real Life

“Movement is medicine. When we reconnect to the world with our feet, we can experience a powerful shift in mental and emotional states. Deeply therapeutic, mindful running simply offers a return to the real world from which we so often find ourselves adrift.” – William Pullen, a psychotherapist and founder of Dynamic Running Therapy.

Once you are on the move, find a comfortable pace. This may be a different speed on different days, depending on your mood. Take a moment or two to become aware of the weather and your surroundings. Be conscious of the colors, smells and shapes around you. Once you have a little momentum, remind yourself of your intention to run mindfully. When you are ready, choose a foot — whichever feels more comfortable — and count each time it hits the ground. Count 10 steps, then start again at one. Keep this going.

When invasive or unhelpful thoughts come, just acknowledge that they have come and let them go as you return to counting your steps. If thoughts arise again, gently return to your counting. If the thoughts say you cannot go on any longer, ask yourself if they spring from your mind or your body.

If they come from your mind, they are just thoughts. Return to your counting and let them pass on by. If your body is truly in pain, slow down, or if needed, walk or stop.

No matter what your speed, aim to get to a point where you are not lost in thought, but are instead simply in the zone, experiencing each step.