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Transform Training into Ritual

by Amy Malpass Hahn

They don’t call it a “runner’s high” for nothing. As runners will know all too well, once you enter that oh-so-coveted state of comfort, there’s nothing that matters but you and the pavement. So how can you maximise this moving meditation, to not only prepare for your race day, but to squeeze the maximum amount of juice out of your training?

 

Focus on your breath

You don’t need to be surrounded by incense to experience the benefits that come from meditation. Focusing on your breath while running – simply paying attention to the length of your inhales and exhales – can see you experiencing a true sense of calm, for long after your run is complete. If you’re new to meditative breath, try inhaling for a count of four and exhaling for a count of six. While it may be a struggle to start with, it will eventually become natural and will ease your body as well as your brain.

 

Motivate with content

Whether it’s a podcast or an audio book, you can use your training time to learn, be inspired or even simply entertained while you run. Our top picks? Danielle LaPorte’s Fire Starter Sessions, Chat 10 Looks 3 with Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb, or of course, Serial. Just don’t be surprised if your run ends up ‘needing’ to be another episode longer.

 

Make stretching a ritual

Rather than rushing through your stretches before and after your run, make them an enjoyable part of your ritual. If you’re doing lunges to open up your hips and forward folds to stretch out your back and hamstrings before you run, why not listen to your favourite warm up song while you loosen up? Or linger over your post-run stretches with a foam roller and a cup of tea.

 

By competing in a race (particularly one that is benefiting such a worthy cause!), you’re already doing good for your body and your community. So why not enjoy the benefits for your brain as well? It may be time to turn your runs into a ritual.