So you want to be a better runner? Take a hint form the experts. Look at world class runners, they all have different styles yet the one thing they all have in common is that they look relaxed. Even when they are going flat out, as fast as they can, they manage to appear focussed and under control, they don’t look like they are straining, they don’t look tense.
This isn’t coincidence, it’s not that they’re all chilled people. It is because they realise that it is so important to remain relaxed whilst running. If we allow tension to build in our minds and bodies we limit our performance, it slows us down. Thinking uses energy and we want to save this for the running! If we are tense in our minds and bodies we loose form and risk injury.
If you run in a relaxed style you can run further and faster with less effort. You feel better and look better. Most importantly you enjoy it more. It isn’t all about speed and form for most of us, enjoying our exercise is essential to us continuing with it as a habit, a lifestyle.
Achieving deep inner relaxation will really help you to become a better runner. Whatever your pace it can make your running feel effortless, you will find yourself enjoying it a lot more.
Meditating as a daily habit will really help you to slow the mind down and will after time lead to a quieter mind which will help with your running. The more often you are mindful in your daily life the more often you will remember to apply this to your running.
Try this technique next time you are out on a run. It is a meditation that I love and I find it works really well when I run…
Notice the rhythm of your stride and count to 10. Not altering your pace but just leaving it as it is.
Nice and steady.
Repeat until you feel that you are doing this with ease and that your body and mind have settled.
If your mind wanders and you loose count then just go back to 1 and start again. This is part of the exercise so don’t get frustrated with yourself.
Next, imagine a bright spark of light appearing in the centre of your chest, as you are running it expands so that a bright warm light gradually covers your whole body, and then it spreads out even further until it goes as far as you can see. You imagine all of this area covered in a warm glow.
When you mind wanders return to count to 10 and then when you reach 10 again notice the bright spark again and repeat.
This exercise teaches us to focus our minds. Each time we redirect our attention because our mind has wandered we are training the brain to pay attention. If we are looking to improve our technique this awareness whilst we run is essential to concentrating on our form.
It also teaches us to expand our minds. Many of us put our heads down and ‘go for it’ and we can run for miles without really noticing where we are and what we are running by and what the weather is doing. When you watch that bright light expand as far as you can see you give your mind some freedom, a break from the thinking. You can take in the beauty of the world around you. It puts everything into perspective, you will feel your stride lengthen and your pace quicken without you trying. Just watch it happen.
Following this exercise when you run will relax your mind, this will relax your body and will reduce the aches and pains caused by tension. With less tension you are physically able to stride out further and you will be using less energy so you will keep going for longer.
Give it a go next time you are out on a training run. You will be amazed by the simplicity of the exercise and the benefits that it brings. The improvement you will see will spur you on and make you love your running all over again.