I run today’s 14 mile long run alone. While the 14 miles run is at easy pace (9:00 to 9:45), the running alone part presents a challenge to maintain focus for the distance.
Seizing this opportunity, I decide to practice running meditation for this long run. Yes, running meditation.
I don’t chant nor close my eyes while running meditation. Instead, I choose three objects for my attention. They are: (1) 3 foot of the trail in front of me, (2) my stride cadence or rhythms, and (3) my breathing.
Alternating among the three, I scan the trail for obstacles. This could be animals, rough surface, or other people. From time to time I would look up and around to change my scenery, but for the most part I am in that personal bubble.
For my stride, I keep my cadence at 180 strides per minute. To do so, I mentally count every stride. Yes, over and over for the entire distance. In a way, it is almost like silent chanting. The rhythm keeps my legs moving, uphill, downhill, doesn’t matter.
The breathing portion is most akin to the classic meditation technique. Follow the breath. But it is not until after five miles into the run that I finally settle into a relaxed shallow breathing pattern. Very little effort at the easy pace, quite efficient.
Of course, running meditation is not as if I am sitting on cloud nine and ready to come out of it at the end of fourteen miles. Oh no. There is the running part that I have to move my body. The physical exercise makes me quite tired after the 14 miles. But at least, my mind and body both got a nice workout.