Running as a Form of Meditation

With all of the focus on training, and paces, sometimes I forget one of the simplest joys of running.
In times of stress, the simple act of going out for a run can be such a cathartic experience. Over the past week, running has been a true opportunity for me to get out of my own head, and let it all out on the road. How wonderful it is to be able to let your mind and emotions go. To be yourself, to allow yourself the freedom to just BE.

We are all frail, and life can be tenuous. There are ample reminders of this in our daily lives. Running allows us to feel our strengths and our weaknesses, and lets us be our best selves.

How many times have you felt so frazzled and emotionally spent that the thought of finding the energy to work out just makes you cringe? These are often the times when I find myself having my best runs. I don’t go out for a long run, but head out knowing that even a short run will help. The first mile is rarely pretty, but before long I find myself settling into a rhythm. My mind clears, my breathing settles into a pattern, and I appreciate my surroundings in a way that I might not have before.

I return from runs like this feeling calm, cleaned out. I do practice yoga on a regular basis, and love the calm mind aspect of the practice. I will say, however, that in times of stress, a run can get me to that quiet head space in a way that yoga doesn’t.

My recommendation, or advice to all of you out there? Take the opportunity to leave the Garmin or watch at home. Head out for a run with no intent except to appreciate the act of running. Let your body find it’s natural rhythm, let your mind clear. Run until you feel like heading home. When you return to your front door, take a moment. Take a breath. Now, take another. Enjoy.

Kim Wood is the owner of Up and Running, Chatham’s newest running store. For more information feel free to visit and make sure you follow Up and Running on Twitter and Facebook.

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