Mental Strength Training

Runners often focus on the physical, but when the going gets tough, being mentally tough is what will keep you going. You probably stretch your muscles, but have you stretched your mind?

Although meditation is gaining in popularity, the number of adults in the U.S. who reported meditating is only up to 14 percent as of 2017. Many runners view the act of running as a form of moving meditation, but sometimes a run might not go as well as we plan, which can lead to stress. A separate meditation practice can help you handle disappointing runs and disappointing moments in life.

How to Meditate

Meditating is the practice of bringing focus and awareness to the present. Usually, you will meditate by sitting still in a comfortable posture away from distractions. When meditating, you can focus on your breath, a phrase, or focus your awareness on each of your body parts or senses.

Distracting thoughts will inevitably pop up, but you can acknowledge them and then calmly return to the focus. You don’t have to spend hours meditating, but the more often you make time for it, the more likely you are to experience its benefits.

Meditation or Mindfulness

A word on everyone’s mind is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of being in the moment whereas meditation is the practice. Both are worthwhile for getting your mind to focus less on negative emotions.

What Meditation Means for Runners

Instead of thinking about your time or distance, a mind stretched by meditation can get you into the moment where the act of running feels seamless. Meditation can help you complete a run without giving in to the pain, fatigue, and other negative experiences and emotions. Studies have shown runners who incorporated meditation into their training improved their mile times.

How to Begin

When it comes to meditation, start slow and gradual with small increments. Pick a time you think you can stick to and know that it might take you a bit of time to settle into the correct mode. You don’t have to bend into a pretzel to meditate. The more you do it, the easier it will get. Instead of scrolling on your phone, consider using some of your normal downtimes to try to meditate. If you need help, many apps offer guided meditation, and some are free!

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from adding meditation to your training and mindfulness to your everyday existence. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact one of our experienced coaches here at PRSJax.

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