It's true: being told to sit and be ‘in the moment’ by your phone is enough to test anyone’s patience. But don’t give up on mindfulness just yet. Its USP is that you can do it anywhere – so if you’re the restless type, why not try it with your trainers on?
‘Mindful running’ is a way of escaping your brain’s busyness by paying close attention to your breathing, pacing and technique. “Moving your body provides a distraction from stressful or negative thoughts,” says William Pullen, psychotherapist and author of Run for Your Life: Mindful Running for a Happy Life. Focusing on your senses is good for your mental health because: “It gives you this feeling that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be, doing exactly what you’re supposed be doing. Your actions and intentions align, creating a powerful sense of relaxation.”
There are performance benefits, too, of course. Whether it’s recognising the shooting pains in your shins or noticing that ache in your hip, being more alert to how your body feels will help you limit injury. Plus, well, you’re training.
Whether it’s your steps or the number of trees you pass, “Counting helps you hold concentration and keeps you in the here and now,”says Pullen.
SAY IT AGAIN
Pick a phrase related to an aspect of your run that you want to improve and repeat it. “Mantras are great,” says Pullen. “We can tailor them to our needs.”
When you feel like quitting, keep going. “Sometimes we think we’re tired but this can be more in the mind than the body,” says Pullen.