There’s no doubt, both running and meditation can do wonders for you, and have your future self thank you for it. There are so many actions you can do today that will compound over time, that would 180 the course of your life.
When it comes to running though, is it better if you meditate before you run or should you do it after? We’ll explore some of the things to think about when it comes to which order they should be in.
In reality, there isn’t a right or wrong. Some swear by meditating when you are done with the running because your muscles might be tense and need a way to relax. But meditation is just one means to relax your muscles, a hot shower could do wonders as well.
Clearing Your Mind Before The Run by Meditating Before
If you choose to meditate before running, you’d be clearing your mind and giving yourself a head start. At that point, you’ll be able to enjoy the run more and make a positive subconscious connection with the running, making your mind associate it with something positive.
Now, not that running necessarily brings any thoughts that would be seen as negative, but it’s always preferable to perform the best at anything you do.
With fewer distractions to hold you back and being completely focused on the running while having a clear mind, you’re less likely to be distracted by something during your run, even if it isn’t so likely and even if running isn’t an activity that demands as much of your focus as let’s say, engaging in some type of problem-solving.
More than anything, it has to do with enjoying what you’re doing in the present moment and understanding on a deeper level that your threshold from happiness can come from smaller things you already have access to, be it meditation or running.
Increasing Your Energy With Meditation
Meditation does increase your energy and focus, which comes a long way in pushing through hurdles you might face with running. You might’ve set the goal to run a certain amount of time, and will likely have an easier time if you feel the energy flowing through your body.
It’s what helps you get closer to a certain goal, without single-handedly being what brings you to your goals.
The practice has many indirect benefits that we only start noticing once we take a step back and observe the changes that come with meditation. If you’re energized right out of the bat, thanks to the meditation, it could be the perfect replacement for coffee or energy drink if that’s what had gotten you to finish your runs.
Not that there’s anything wrong with relying on coffee or energy drinks if you feel it helps you in your running, but nothing beats the natural source of energy you get from meditation. The practice is accessible to you at all times and you can often replenish your energy when you need it.
Meditating After Running
One of the benefits of meditating after the run is that you train yourself to transition your mind from one state to an almost opposite state.
Now, that’s not to say that running can’t be calming, it certainly can be, and I’ll discuss that later. But you’re often engaging your muscles differently when you run and when you meditate if we think about the traditional way of the practice of sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing.
It’s a bit like disconnecting your physical senses, whereas running is engaging your physical senses, but then again, there are meditations that involve moving, that’s not the type of meditation I’m talking about here.
If you’re able to quiet down your mind after some type of physical activity, your mind might be tempted to return to that physical activity because it does feel good, and it’s a constructive good feeling as opposed to a destructive one because many times the mind engages in habits that are destructive from us and gets a similar kick from it, but that’s far more short-lived.
It’s an opportunity to take control of the mind by taking a step back and figuring out what you actually want to continue doing, be it meditating or running.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing running, but the idea in itself is to test that discipline to determine where we are, and if we’re able to sit still and focus on our breathing, which, once you reach a flow state, you’re unlikely to want to leave that state.
Meditating after is also a way to relax your muscles and allow your mind and body to replenish, giving yourself a proper break.
Meditating During The Run
You didn’t think this was possible, did you? Keep in mind, meditation can be anything. As long as you are in the present moment, it becomes less relevant whether you choose to focus on your breathing or something else that allows you to stay engaged in what you are doing.
That’s what I touched on earlier because many tend to see meditation as sitting still in a quiet place, which, for many if not most, that’s the best and easiest way to meditate.
Your environment does play a role in your meditation, some monks choose to go and meditate in places close to nature since it helps them connect more with the session.
The way you meditate while running is by being fully focused on the running, almost as if nothing else exists. It might sound easy but it’s a bit harder to implement in practice, especially when you’re not used to being in a meditative state.
But if you manage to be in a present state perpetually, meditation will either come easy for you, or you’ve already reached a point where you’re meditating without thinking about it. On autopilot, if you will, but it’s the time the autopilot works in your favor.
In addition, if you combine meditation with the run, it can be a way to make the meditation more enjoyable and even fun.
No one said meditation had to be boring, even if it does help to experience some boredom and hurdles for the purposes of growth, reaching a point where you learn to fall in love with boredom, which somewhat gets rid of boredom in itself or reduces it in other areas of your life. Choose what works best for you, but make sure you’re able to see your progress and measure it.
Comparing Two States of Mind
You can always compare how you feel with meditation and running, either by doing it before, after, during, or mixing it how you see fit.
Running may not be your thing, but meditation can be a helpful tool to find yourself by letting you be engaged in whatever thing it is that you’re doing.
And where you might not have found enjoyment at one point, you might start finding enjoyment. I’m a big proponent of tracking progress as it was one of the biggest motivators to keep me going with meditation.
Now, motivation alone won’t do much, it will certainly get you started but it’s always gonna be up to us to complete that motivation with discipline, which turns out to be the most important piece in building a routine, be it running or meditating.