The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness.
~ Sakyong Mipham
I never thought I would be a runner. I tried but it never really took hold. I even read the Sakyong’s book, Running With the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind to see how I could fit it into my mindfulness practice. I actually found that help make it easier to do at the gym on the dreadmill, but outside was a whole other story.
This past summer on the advice of my doctor I made some lifestyle changes. I was having trouble fitting the gym into my schedule and he told me to try running. If I was going to be walking my dog Ace out for a walk twice a day, could I not turn one of those walks into a jog? He told me about the runners’ high as another benefit.
So I tried. I bought some new runners, downloaded the C25K Trainer App and headed to the track at a nearby school with Ace and started. It wasn’t easy. There were times I wanted to quit, but within seven weeks I was able to do 5K! Now, some six months later, I am focused on reduce my average time per kilometre to five and a half minutes and am feeling better for having lost 30 pounds.
I am also starting to bring more mindfulness to my running. I listen to the Running meditation on the Headspace app while warming up, setting my intention and my breathing. I have playlists that help me stay focused and aware. At the end of the run I don’t only feel good from the workout, I also feel good and my mind is still.
I even brought my gear and ran while I was on vacation in Ireland in Spain in October. When I came back, I took part in a run to support the United Way with some co-workers. It was different running with people rather than with just my dog. It was a good thing, and we now run as a group once a week – weather permitting.
Now that it’s winter, it’s a little more difficult to run outside. When the mercury is in the minus teens celsius, with a windchill in the minus thirties it’s just not safe. This has meant that I haven’t been getting as many runs in, and many of them are at the gym. I have to say I have really missed it and I think Ace has too. We’ve been fortunate to be able to get out a few times lately. To be honest, running when it’s -5 isn’t that bad, with the right gear of course.