Today, I decided that I am going to start a seven-part series on ways to improve your run time, and to also be more safe before you even have your running shoes on entitled, “Before Running”. The main purpose of this series is to go over concepts not normally considered even among experienced runners. One of these topics is meditation and the importance of the state of mind.
Why is this an important topic to touch upon? Here’s some more obvious reasons. Having a motivated state of mind will be what gets you to both physically get you off the couch to go running and to also keep you going when you start to experience muscle cramps. However, I find that meditating the night before running (whether before a training day or before an important run) will actually increase your level of performance.
How does tis process occur? Well, from what I understand of it, it takes away much of the nervousness that I experience before a run (similar to that of test-anxiety). Essentially, by picturing yourself getting across the finish-line in the time desired, it creates a positive state of mind. On a sub-conscious level, I believe that it helps the runner realize that it is in fact possible to complete their goal.
So, I actually researched the proper posture for a novice meditator. Here’s, what seemed to work for me. I sat with my legs crossed. My hands were relaxed and rested downward on my knees. My head and back were completely straight. To achieve this, I pictured myself as a marionette doll with a string coming from my head and each shoulder and reached to the ceiling. I then imagined that these strings were what was keeping me up. It is important to breathe very slowly during this exercise. Then slowly, I closed my eyes and blocked out all external distractions. Next, I focused on clearing all thoughts from my mind as if I was pouring water from a pail. Eventually, I could hear my heart beat as if I were listening to it through a stethoscope.
This is when I went back to the sound of my sneakers hitting the pavement. In my mind, I began to visualize the finish line before me, with one NCO standing there calling out the time. Finally, I imagined myself running past the finish line before he called 15:45
I tested this theory out this morning. I was able to complete 2 miles in less than 15:45. 🙂