Out of the top 100 fastest marathon times ever achieved in the world, 59 of them are from Kenya, 31 from Ethiopia. Anyone want to guess why that is? Nope not altitude, genetics and or the fact they have to run everywhere. Psychological studies show that it is because they BELIEVE they are good runners!
Too often I hear from people that they believe they are not designed to be a runner. However every human body was born to run and run for an extended period of time. But sometimes it is hard. It can be hard to get started and hard to keep going. But if we can become more mindful when we run like the marathon monks of Japan, it can become a whole lot easier.
Your breathing is one of the most important components of both meditating and running. If you are able to establish a rhythmical slow pattern of breathing you can offset stress and increase your movement efficiency. To breathe effectively really focus on your exhalation and it should feel like it is coming from your stomach not your throat. We often use ‘breathe’ as a cue for our clients while performing an exercise as this helps to increase focus and performance.
During most runs the first 10 minutes always seem the hardest part. By focusing on how your body feels and your technique, your run will become less painful and more efficient. You want to feel light and bouncy on your feet not feel or sound like an elephant stomping down the street. You should also feel like a piece of string is attached to the top of your head pulling you to the sky so your body feels lengthened. We often ask clients how a certain exercise feels or where they feel the exercise working, in order to establish a better brain/body connection.
USE A MANTRA
Running can be tough but having a key phrase or mantra can help you overcome just about any obstacle. Using a positive cue can often be enough to give you the strength to continue and try a little harder. Even mantra’s like ‘look up’ can help you become more aware and grateful of your surroundings. One of my clients uses the mantra ‘light weight’ which he says to himself before lifting a heavy weight.