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How to Make Running into a Moving Meditation (Coaches Corner)

We know that running can be meditative, but how to do you really make running into moving meditation? Find out on today’s Running Coaches Corner, and join the link up!

Running can be polarizing: some people love it, others hate it. Of course, there are a number of people that are right in the middle, and there are a number of people who love it during but hate it after and hate it during but love it after. 

Regardless…. if you run, you are running for a reason, and if you are running, you might as well make it work for you in the best way possible. One way that you can do that is to learn, if not to enjoy running, to figure out how to incur mental benefits as well as the physical benefits that you are after via turning running into a moving meditation.

When we think of meditation, most likely we picture someone sitting quietly, Buddha-like, in a cross legged position with their hands on their knees and their eyes closed. The next idea might be of someone in savasana, lying on the floor. The common denominator in both of these scenarios is that the person is still, eyes are closed, breathing is slow and measured, and they are in super comfy clothes (and likely shoeless).

But is stillness the only way to achieve a meditative state? If meditation can be achieved while moving, can running be a means of moving meditation? How can you turn running into moving meditation? No, yes, and I will tell you.

Running as Moving Meditation

Yes, it is possible to turn Running into Moving Meditation! Find out how to meditate during running and join Running Coaches Corner Link up! @suzlyfe

The principles that allow running to be a moving meditation are the same as those principles that apply to sitting meditation:

  • Calming, repetitive motion (think of how you can fall into a trance stirring a pot)
  • As you train your brain, you will relax into and not interfere with the movement, allowing you to fall deeper into a meditative state
  • Focus on breath (concentration meditation) or allowing for free movement and evolution of thoughts (mindfulness meditation) are both possible, depending on what you are trying to achieve (a deeper state of focus or greater awareness of your own thought patterns)
  • It can be very difficult to really achieve the meditative state at first, but with practice, you can go for longer and longer periods of successful moving meditation
  • Benefits include: (Yoga Journal has some great articles on this!)
    • Greater ability to concentrate, particularly in stressful situations
    • Regulation of breathing, especially under duress
    • Identification of patterns of thoughts + increase and improvement of memory and ideation

How to turn Running Into Moving Meditation

Yes, it is possible to turn Running into Moving Meditation! Find out how to meditate during running and join Running Coaches Corner Link up! @suzlyfe

Over time, you might be able to successfully run and meditate simultaneously regardless of what you are wearing, where you are, or what is going on around you, but when you start working on turning running into moving meditation, set yourself up for success.

  • Dress as comfortably as possible. You should always wear proper fitting clothing, but if you are trying to turn running into meditation, having comfortable, supportive clothing is paramount so that you are focusing on your meditation rather than itchy or chafing clothing. 
  • Pick a peaceful trail and a quieter time of day. Don’t run down Madison Avenue at rush hour. For me, it is the Lakefront Trail (whether near the lake or not) at Sunrise. That is my meditative time.
  • Run without headphones until you are really proficient, or pick music that is wordless. If you are new to doing this, break in your running-sans-headphones like you would new shoes–don’t start with your longest run!
    • Now, this isn’t to say that I haven’t achieved a meditative state with headphones in. I find music to be the most conducive to achieving moving meditation as opposed to podcasts, but I have gotten to the point that I can sort of zone out with a podcast (depending on who/what it is). I will literally get home and realize that I have no idea what they have said. 
  • I’m big on safety, so I support bringing your phone with you on your run. HOWEVER, turn the alerts off that sucker (put it on Do Not Disturb or set it to silent, not vibrate), and turn off that dang Bluetooth watch. Your adoring public can wait 15 minutes or for a different run to interrupt. 
  • If you have a watch or Garmin, turn it so you can’t see the face. 
  • Don’t plan a moving meditation session for a hard workout day. Yes, you might have a moment where you are out of your body during that type of run, but it isn’t the best for going into a truly meditative state!

How to Achieve Moving Meditation through Running?

Yes, it is possible to turn Running into Moving Meditation! Find out how to meditate during running and join Running Coaches Corner Link up! @suzlyfe

  • Follow the above steps.
  • Start out with a few minutes of walking to help prep your brain and transition from everything going on previously to knowing that it is time to run (this will also warm up your body)
    • Start running at an easy pace. Focus on your breath or your feet for a bit–when you start running, your breath and heart rate might spike, but after a few minutes, especially as you focus on cadence of your breath and also of your feet, both breath and heart rate should settle down. 
  • Continue to focus on your breath or your feet. Make the in and out, the footfalls, as consistent as possible. Relax your face, your hands, your shoulders. Swing your arms naturally. Repeat.
  • If you have a peaceful horizon point, try that for a new point of focus!
  • Option to listen for the sounds around you, if the environment is quiet and peaceful. If there is commotion or lots of background noise, focus on your feet or breath.
  • The objective is to get to the point that you aren’t thinking about when you are coming back. You are unlikely to get to a full trance-like state, but you will get to a point where you can clear and quiet your mind.

As with any meditation, moving meditation takes practice and consistent practice. This isn’t for every single run! Practice seated meditation as well–even just a few minutes a day. Think of it as your supplemental training! That will facilitate the success of your moving meditation practice. 

Zen meets zoom: how to make #running into moving meditation! #coachescorner #run Click To Tweet

I hope that you take an easy/recovery run this week and try out some moving meditation! Let me know how it goes!

Now, it is time for Running Coaches Corner!

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I am linking up with myself, Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches CornerPatty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday, and Ilka and Angela for Food and Fitness Sunday. 

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  • Reply Carla

    I could not love this more. Even as a non-runner. That is walking for me. It’s almost weird how the 17 or so miles on Monday truly flew past. I focused on breath walking even though it was a quicker pace than normal 🙂
    Unbelievably meditative.
    Carla recently posted…3 ways to survive ghosting by a friend.My Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 5:06 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Totally! Walking meditation is the OG running meditation!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:36 pm
  • Reply Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    That meditative state you fall into is so true! I have a hard time explaining this to other people but you did it so well!
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars {GF, Low Cal, Vegan}My Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 5:11 am
  • Reply Laura

    I’ve definitely experienced this on recovery runs or really slow runs when I don’t have to think about how fast I’m running or where I’m going… one of my favorite side benefits of running!
    Laura recently posted…Do you set a mileage goal for the year?My Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 6:12 am
  • Reply Janelle @ Run With No Regrets

    This sounds really interesting! Sometimes I feel like I’m in a “trance” while running but never really considered a moving meditation. I’ll have to try this out!
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Goals for the Disney Princess Enchanted 10KMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 6:18 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That means that you are already on your way!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:26 pm
  • Reply Lacey@fairytalesandfitness

    I much prefer this running meditation rather than medication that comes from yoga. I always go on a quiet trail near my house in the middle of the day when there are are hardly any people out at the same time running. It is so peaceful. I don’t even bring my phone with me. I know I should for safety reasons but I hate having that extra weight.
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…This Seasons Beauty BoxMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 6:27 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I get so mad at Alex for not having his phone with him when he runs. I just don’t want anything to happen to you guys!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:27 pm
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner

    I never really thought of running as meditative but it could be. I have a difficult time getting to that zen like runner’s high place but I do aspire to it. Great post
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Would You Rather – Running Dilemmas asked and answeredMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 6:36 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Maybe just a bit at a time? I bet you could do it!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:27 pm
  • Reply

    I made the mistake of changing my running from a meditative thing to a competitive thing. It made me hate it. Whereas before I would run at a certain pace, happy and comfortable with that pace listening to my favourite tunes, I then forced myself to try and better my time. I’m now back to running at the pace I ran at before that sends me into that meditative state. I learned a lesson there otherwise I could have given up something that I loved and all for the wrong reasons! recently posted…Baked Potato With Coronation TurkeyMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 6:59 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You just need to have balance, and it does depend on your goals–I’m enjoying the meditative pace right now as well.

      February 24, 2017 at 2:28 pm
  • Reply Kelli @ Hungry Hobby

    Seriously the best part about a long slow run is the ability to zone out, but it’s so hard for me to tell myself I’m not going to watch the garmin or push myself. It’s such a struggle to get out of that PUSH YOURSELF mentality and just use the run to clear your head.
    Kelli @ Hungry Hobby recently posted…Healthy Oatmeal Pecan Cookies (Gluten Free, Refined Flour Free)My Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 7:12 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      THat is what I have been loving about running while I”ve been able to do that–just enjoy and absorb

      February 24, 2017 at 2:29 pm
  • Reply Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    I like to run without headphones because it facilities reaching this state on a run. When my body is moving, it’s so much easier for my mind to be still.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Staying Sane on the Treadmill {Run It Round Up}My Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 7:17 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And you just have so much natural beauty around you–you must soak that up!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:30 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    I’ve def fallen into this without calling it meditation before… usually though my mind is ALL OVER the place! Such good tips.
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Girls Weekend in DCMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 7:23 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Then you are doing more mindfulness meditation!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:31 pm
  • Reply Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    I’m better about this on those long slow runs but occasionally I’ll be zipping along in the zone. Running is my moving meditation!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…I’m Springing For Prana! #spring4prAnaMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 7:30 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I KNOW it is for you!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:31 pm
  • Reply Jessica Marie @ FlashFit Trainer

    This is such an amazing idea! I’ve dedicated miles in my mind to people before, but I’ve never tried running meditation. I would love to get into a trance-like state during a run.
    Jessica Marie @ FlashFit Trainer recently posted…Is Freelance A Dirty Word?My Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 8:06 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I bet you would be amazed at the effect!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply Suzy

    Fantastic! I’ve often stated that running is my moving meditation. Well, it CAN be, if I don’t listen to music, etc etc. I did one of those runs yesterday and I barely remember running!
    Suzy recently posted…RawrMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 8:07 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think that you are made for this–running is your escape and your meditation for certain

      February 24, 2017 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply Gretchen

    Love this idea! I’ve always called running my therapy but I can also see it as being meditation.
    Gretchen recently posted…Best Yoga Videos for RunnersMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 8:07 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Especially along the river 😀

      February 24, 2017 at 2:33 pm
  • Reply kat

    I truly think that any exercise can be turned into a form of meditation when done in a certain way. For the most part during my gym time I have my music blaring and my focus on one thing -SWEAT! – but there are times when I’m there when I switch to the music to something slower in temper [but still motivating] and really put the focus on why I’m there and what I’m doing. That to me is my meditation. I go through the exercises while focusing on what each one is doing to and for my body. Make any sense? haha I could definitely see how running would be a great form of meditation!
    kat recently posted…Broccoli & Cheese Quinoa Stuffed Bell PeppersMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 8:11 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It definitely makes sense! We all have our meditations and our “running”!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:33 pm
  • Reply Cora

    When I would run, I did find it meditative – mostly because it just allowed me to think my thoughts and let them flow through me. This in of itself always let me feel much more cleansed when I was done (we can go whole days shutting down those thoughts and letting them build up subconsciously). I never run or walk with headphones in. I always just take in the sounds around me, as I personally feel music in my ears takes me away from where I am in the moment. And it kind of scares me. Great post.
    Cora recently posted…My Relationship With Wheat: What I Ate WednesdayMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 8:13 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It is your moment to be in the world. Sometimes I rely too much on my headphones. I need to stop that.

      February 24, 2017 at 2:25 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Ooooh, very very interesting. You superfeeler, you.

      February 24, 2017 at 2:34 pm
  • Reply Jen @ pretty little grub

    I don’t actively meditate when I run but I definitely find it therapeutic and calming.
    Jen @ pretty little grub recently posted…Intuitive Eating Principle #3 – Make Peace with FoodMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 8:42 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I wonder what would happen if you really tried?

      February 24, 2017 at 2:24 pm
  • Reply Patricia @Sweet and Strong

    I definitely agree running is a form of meditation. You have motivated me to run without headphones more often!

    February 22, 2017 at 8:51 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Let me know how it goes! it takes a little time, but you will love it!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:24 pm
  • Reply Amy Powell

    What an interesting concept! Gives new meaning to “runner’s high” and reminds of that place you enter on the good days when you actually forget that you’re running. Great post!

    February 22, 2017 at 9:37 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you! Definitely a new meaning to runner’s high!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:23 pm
  • Reply Amy

    I totally agree with this. About 2 years ago I felt like everyone in my life was saying … meditate, meditate, meditate. So I tried it and I thought to myself: I really don’t need this because I get this same clarity with a good long run. In fact, I will add one more thing. If you are stressed enough that it’s hard to get yourself to relax I think you can force it by pushing the pace. For me there is a point in a tempo run where all I can think about is breathing and keeping my feet going and when I hit that point that’s very meditative. Good article! Thanks Suz.

    February 22, 2017 at 10:28 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I hear you there with the tempos–you just lock in. I have the same thoughts about why meditate when I can run? Guess I’ll need to meditate for the next month…

      February 24, 2017 at 2:22 pm
  • Reply Ange // Cowgirl Runs

    By FAR my favourite runs are the ones where I can just zone out and be. Even when I do listen to music, I always feel refreshed after a run
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Working Out While Sick: Yay or Nay?My Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 10:52 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It is like a total reset!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:21 pm
  • Reply Heather @Lunging Through Life

    RUnning is by far my time to zone out and honestly end up meditating. I love how refreshed I am after a run.
    Heather @Lunging Through Life recently posted…Leg Day! 5 Stations: 5 Minutes EachMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 11:38 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Same here! i don’t get the same from my walks, but they help at least a bit

      February 24, 2017 at 2:20 pm
  • Reply Annmarie

    Sometime, though not always, running is my way of escaping. It’s my alone time and especially when I am running outside around sunrise and can hear the rustling of nature, I feel very zen and at peace.

    February 22, 2017 at 11:55 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Especially with everything going on in your life, and beauty of the world around you!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:20 pm
  • Reply Kimberly G

    I think I use running as a way to help my cardiovascular health, and also as an escape. When I run I focus o a bunch of different things – how my training is going, my favorite song and what I want to have for lunch or dinner (lol)
    Kimberly G recently posted…Switching Up My Workout RoutineMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 1:20 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hahaha I hear you there!!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:19 pm
  • Reply Rachel

    Before I was so scared of life, I used to zone out completely during runs and I have to say I really miss it. Now I’m way too aware to get completely zen’ed on the run but I still try every now and again. The track is a place I can do it for sure. 🙂 And races when I’m not racing.
    Rachel recently posted…Incorporate Yoga Into Your Training to Achieve Balance, Strength, and FocusMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 2:53 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m glad to hear that you aren’t scared of life. I’m not sure the extent of that, but I do understand to an extent!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:19 pm
  • Reply Kimberly Hatting

    This happens to me a lot if I’m running solo. Like with the podcast you mentioned…I’ll return home and have no idea of what songs played the entire hour I was listening to them LOL
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Three Running WishesMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 3:57 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know, right? Total autopilot!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:17 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Mile by Mile

    I have brief moments where i can reach this type of meditative state while running, but most of the time my mind is going. Im hoping I can get back to a place where I am not spending my whole run worrying so much!
    Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted…Three Running WishesMy Profile

    February 22, 2017 at 6:58 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It takes a bit of time. But maybe going to more of a meditative stay will help!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:17 pm
  • Reply Kristy from Southern In Law

    Yep, walking is my meditation because I am way too hyperactive to meditate sitting still 😛 I walk at least half of the time in silence to get my head in the right place for the day ahead – but the first half I listen to podcasts to stop my brain thinking about ALL THE THINGS and focus on one thing instead.
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recipe: Easy Vegan Baked Rice PuddingMy Profile

    February 23, 2017 at 1:39 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Good think your husband likes Pokemon Go ;D

      February 24, 2017 at 2:16 pm
  • Reply jill conyers

    Love it! Suz this is a wonderful take on 2 of my favorite things. Have a wonderful Thursday!
    jill conyers recently posted…The Physical and Mental Benefits of ExerciseMy Profile

    February 23, 2017 at 2:53 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I bet you are the master at it!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:15 pm
  • Reply Ilka

    I always saw running as a form of motivation. It’s the primary why I run – it clears my head and puts everything back into perspective!! Another beautiful running post Susie!
    Ilka recently posted…Sunday FitnessMy Profile

    February 23, 2017 at 7:51 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, Ilka, and thank you for the shout out on IG!

      February 24, 2017 at 2:00 pm
  • Reply Akansha @ Citrus & Gold

    I need to practice these tips! I feel like running can be meditative on it’s own but I think it can be even more impactful when its intentional.

    February 24, 2017 at 12:51 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I totally agree! I would love to know if you try the tips out!

      February 24, 2017 at 1:24 pm
  • Reply San

    I love the term ‘moving meditation’… it might not be the same as “calm, sitting, eyes closed” meditation, but I can totally see how you can “zone out” on your runs and just be still inside your head. Totally true.
    San recently posted…Currently | FebruaryMy Profile

    February 25, 2017 at 7:55 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Plus, the rhythm of your feet totally carry you away!

      February 26, 2017 at 11:13 am
  • Reply MCM Mama Runs

    I don’t meditate per se, but I do get into a zone when I’m running where I feel like I’m in a bit of a trance and my mind stops racing. It’s a great way to release some stress.
    MCM Mama Runs recently posted…TOTR: Rating my February runningMy Profile

    February 28, 2017 at 8:09 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Step by step 😀

      February 28, 2017 at 8:10 pm

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