A How-To Guide to Mindfulness and Running

Over the years, mindfulness has been increasing in popularity. Meditation studios are increasing in number to accommodate the demand to unplug and reconnect with one’s body and surroundings. Mindfulness is all about being in tune with the present, listening to your body and being one with the moment. Running with mindfulness allows you to go with the flow, relax, and let go of stress.

Mindful running can help you stay focused, a focus which you can take with you into other parts of your life. [TWEET THIS!] It removes distracting thoughts and negativity in your mind, allowing you to savor and enjoy every step in your run. Today we’ll look at the benefits of integrating mindfulness with running and the steps you need to take to achieve it.

Benefits of Mindful Running

Mindful running allows you to immerse yourself in your running. It doesn’t disconnect you from what you’re doing, instead it allows you to experiences the richness of every step.

It serves as your warning alert.

Mindfulness allows you to pay attention to your body. You become more conscious when your muscles start to stiffen or your breathing becomes more labored. Mindful running keeps you at an easy level by regulating your pace. Easy can mean slow today or faster tomorrow depending on your body condition. Mindfulness protects you from over exerting yourself, preventing injuries from happening.

It removes negativity.

Some runners run with so much stress on their minds. You carry your work worries during your exercise routine when it’s supposed to be a time for yourself. Mindfulness can help alleviate negativity as you focus on the present, not the past or the future. It can also improve your mood through the release of natural brain chemicals such as endorphins and norepinephrine.

It makes running effortless.

When your mind is fully in tune with your body, you go with the flow. Running becomes effortless when you incorporate mindfulness. You get into “the zone” where everything comes naturally and easy. Mindful running makes you fully engaged with what you’re doing. It’s so effortless you won’t even notice that you’re keeping a steady rhythm in your step and breathing!

It boosts your confidence.

Mindfulness allows you to focus on your personal goals for running. This includes not thinking about your peers’ pace. Comparing yourself to others can make running unnecessarily competitive and stressful. Mindfulness removes all that and keeps you laser-focused on your own experience and enjoying every bit of it.

How to Apply Mindfulness to Running

Now that you know the benefits of mindfulness, let’s put this calming technique into practice! [TWEET THIS!] Here’s a step-by-step guide to mindful running.

Step 1: Relax yourself.

Take stock of how you feel and let your body relax. [TWEET THIS!] Don’t rush. Sit down for a couple of minutes to clear your mind before you start getting ready for your run.

Step 2: Be aware of your body condition.

Are you feeling a bit sore? Are your completely rested or lacking sleep? Gauge your energy level. This will help you in regulating the effort you need to put into your running.

Step 3: Do some breathing exercises.

Take deep breaths before you start your run. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Experts from Headspace said that deep breathing will give you a “greater sense of being grounded.”

Step 4: Connect with your body as you move.

Be mindful of how your muscles feel with every step. Appreciate how the wind touches your skin. Connect with your emotions, too. Do you feel free? Do a quick survey of your surroundings then bring back your attention to your body.

Step 5: Aim for that steady pace.

As you continue running, make a self-assessment. How are you feeling? How do your legs and arms feel? Have you reached your rhythm? Get into a steady pace where you’re comfortable with your running.

Step 6: Appreciate your surroundings.

If running is something you do regularly and you pass by the same route all the time, take time to appreciate what you see. Whether it’s the rustling of leaves or the houses you pass by, have that “gentle curiosity” and be aware of the beauty around you.

Step 7: Be conscious of your mental habits.

At this point, you have finally gotten into the groove and your mind shifts to different things. Take note of the things your mind instinctively wanders off to. Do you feel self-conscious or confident? [TWEET THIS!] Let your body respond to it as endorphins are released to your body and uplift your mood.

Step 8: Embrace the discomfort.

Part of mindfulness is acknowledging positive and negative feelings. After running for a while, you will feel your muscles tire out. Instead of shrugging it off, embrace it and be one with your pain. [TWEET THIS!] Accept that physical discomfort will come at some point in your running routine.  

Step 9: Relax as you exert more effort.

As you continue to increase in speed or exert more effort, try to relax. Focus on the lightness of your feet. Keep your mind in your rhythm to relax you. Compartmentalize your focus into sections. It can be aiming for the next street or next mile. Whether you’re speeding up or on your way to slowing down, having short goals to aim for will help you be more steady and relaxed.

Mindfulness is one of the best things you can add to your running routine. It is a technique that not only relaxes you but also frees you. Mindful running lets your body experience the fullness of every step with a clear mind and a sense of revitalized well-being.

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