Showing posts with label meditation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label meditation. Show all posts

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Inner enlightenment isn't improving my pace

Today's run (street): 4.25 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 3.2 miles

Those of you who know me personally will likely agree that I'm a pretty chill guy. Make that chilly. I get cold a lot. In terms of being calm and centered, I have a way to go. I recently read an article in Men's Journal called the "The Distracted Man's Guide to Meditation" and have embraced what the author refers to as "focused attention" meditation. It's a very simple breathing exercise that reminds me of the primary karate form (Uechi-ryu sanchin) that I would often practice prior to a stressful meeting or presentation.

This focused meditation exercise takes 19 seconds, although it can be repeated as often as needed. Breath in for four seconds, hold for seven and breath out for eight. That's it. In a very short time, you will shift your focus solely to breathing and will release anxieties in the process. It works anywhere and doesn't require mantras, sitting in a lotus position or burning incense.

I don't mean to suggest that I've moved one inch toward self actualization by doing this, but it's a good in-the-moment tactic when things get stressful. The combination of this exercise and a significant reduction of sugar have both made a positive impact for me. Unfortunately, none of this has translated to an improvement in my running performance except in terms of much better stamina. And that's probably due mostly to weight loss.

Yesterday morning I went out for my Friday pre workday run. I got out extra early because I had to bring my car to the dealership before my meetings started. It was a typical workout, the early hour shielded me from the hot sun but the humidity was clear and present.

This morning started early, but circumstances prevented me from getting out until 8:30 AM. Although they were touting low humidity, I found plenty. My running has reached a new equilibrium point. I can run longer and more comfortably, but I'm not going any faster. When I think about things like stride length and cadence I'll see some short term gains. By and large, I'm still where I was a month ago.

Shortly after starting  my morning run, a car drove up beside me and the driver asked me if Stillwell Park was close by. I told him I wished it was (imagine if Stillwell's trail head started in my neighborhood) but that he'd need to drive a couple of miles to get there. I gave him directions that he didn't write down so I hope he was a good listener.

Since my Garmin FR210's strap disintegrated, I've been carrying it on my SPIbelt. It works, but it's difficult to read the display while running. Having it on my hip rather than my wrist seems to affect accuracy as well. Today it measured my run 4.2% shorter than actual (per Gmaps). I'm going to have to break down and get a new GPS watch. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Transcendental treadmillism

Be the treadmill
Today's run (treadmill): 3.2 miles

Rainy weather put me on the treadmill this morning, but I was fine with that. I'm way behind in my magazine reading (I blame the lack of a daily commute) and have been catching up on recent Runner's World issues. I came across an article about meditation and running, and was curious to learn how the two might be linked. Were they suggesting that runners should meditate during a run? If that's the same as zoning out, I guess it could make sense.

Much of the article covered mental preparation for a run, but the writer also suggested some specific meditative running techniques. One example was taking a breath every three steps and exhaling for two. I tried that on the treadmill this morning with mixed results. Just like when I tried to calculate cadence by tracking my steps per minute during a run, I found it extremely hard to keep my counts. The challenge was maintaining synchronization between my steps and my breathing. I gave up fairly quickly. 

The one idea in the article that proved viable was simply acknowledging the tedium of the run and the pain and fatigue that may come with it. Instead of relying on TV or music, the meditative approach is to understand the discomfort and appreciate what's good about the experience. As I ran today, I thought about how I felt (strong, mentally energized), how the floor fan was keeping me cool, and how nice it was to have a schedule that didn't involve 4:00 AM workouts. I may not have reached the highest mode of consciousness today, but meditation did do a fine job of distracting me from the damn treadmill.

blogger templates | Webtalks