Try this running meditation to find your zen, fix focus and form

Practicing a simple running meditation on easy runs can help you tap into that much-desired flow state–where running feels effortless. Mackenzie L. Havey, author of Mindful Running, explains that adding mindfulness practice to your training has the potential to amplify the already brain-boosting effects of aerobic exercise, increase running performance, and lower anxiety and stress.

Accomplished ultrarunner Timothy Olson emphasizes how much being mindful has impacted his running: “Bringing mindfulness into anything you’re passionate about ignites your overall enjoyment of the whole experience,” he says. “You become more skilled by becoming engaged in and focused on what you’re doing in the moment. The more you enjoy running, the better you are.”

Timothy Olson ultrarunner
Photo: Instagram/timothyallenolson

Having the ability to calm your mind in a physically challenging or pressure-laden time is an enviable skill. Read through this simple meditation several times, and then try it while on your next few easy runs. You’ll find it gets easier over time, and you’ll have one more tool to pull out during your next hard race.

Basic running meditation

Choose something as an anchor for your attention–this could be your breath or your footfall.

Start an easy run, ideally on a trail or somewhere where there isn’t a lot of traffic. Make sure to be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Give yourself five to 10 minutes to relax and settle into your run.

If you chose your breath as an anchor, follow each inhale to the end and then follow each exhale. If you chose your footfall, count each step up to 10 and repeat. Pay attention to where your foot lands and how it feels when it pushes off.

Timothy Olson
Photo: Instagram/timothyallenolson

When you notice your mind wandering, gently redirect it back to your anchor. Continually bringing your attention back to your breath or footfall will strengthen new neural pathways over time, enhancing your ability to concentrate.

With practice and when things line up, you will find that refocusing your attention on your breath or footfall can eventually lead you into a flow state, where running becomes effortless.

Try this running meditation to find your zen, fix focus and form