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Yesterday I watched this great TED video thanks to Sharon  on Google+.  In the video, Matt Cutts talks about the power of the 30 day challenge.  Apparently that’s all the time you need to start or stop a habit.  Mr. Cutts encourages us all to think of something that we have always wanted to do and commit to it for 30 days.

A blog post I read last week titled On Becoming Superhuman got me thinking about the importance of meditation and its benefits for athletic performance.  That helped me to decide my 30 day challenge, but my only dilemma is, I don’t know how to meditate. I’m envisioning a monk, a lot of ommmmmmmm noises, and a picturesque background.  I think I need to look into this…

The Mayo Clinic:

Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health. And these benefits don’t end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and can even improve certain medical conditions

Meditation can also improve concentration, help us to detach and live in the present, increase our health, and provide us with a deeper knowledge of our being. The one area that I am interested in most is gaining a deeper knowledge of myself.  I want to know my thoughts, understand my body, and know that I have the mental fortitude to keep going when I most want to quit.

So how does one meditate? One of my favorite motivational/inspirational websites Pick the Brain has a list of six steps to follow while meditating:

Tejvan Pettinger:

  1. Sit with a straight back. Don’t try to meditate lying down because you are likely to fall asleep. Meditation brings relaxation and peace but at the same time this is a dynamic peace. Meditation is quite different than the relaxation of sleep. When we really meditate, we are fully alert and conscious. Our sense of awareness is heightened. Afterwards you’ll have a positive feeling for the world and a renewed sense of dynamism.
  2. Don’t eat before meditating. After a heavy meal your body will be lethargic with digestion.
  3. It is not necessary to mediate in the lotus posture. It is fine to meditate in a chair, as long as the back is straight.
  4. It is helpful to take a shower before meditating.
  5. Burning incense and having a candle are not necessary, but they can add a little extra inspiration.
  6. It is good to meditate early in the morning. It is said the best time is 3am, although, I feel it is more important to be awake and not sleepy, I meditate at 6.30am.

This morning I had my first attempt at meditation.  I started by lying down which I quickly realized was a bad idea. At 5:45am, that just meant going right back to sleep.  However, once I sat up, I kind of got into the groove of things. Just for the record, clearing your mind is hard.  I ended up doing more visualization of me kicking butt at my next race than clearing my mind and meditating. Beneficial? Perhaps, but not what I was suppose to be doing.  I will try again tomorrow and 28 days after that.  Hopefully if I can get the hang of this, it will become a daily habit and not just a 30 day challenge.

Photo Source: Tevaprapas Makklay, Wikimedia Commons

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hi Tracie, Nice post! I like this 30-day challenge idea. I wrote a post about meditation and running with a bit of a different perspective.

    August 20, 2012
    • Love your post! My favorite line is “It’s as though (in sport) time slows down and all that matters is the moment.” That is SO true. Thinking back on past races, it doesn’t matter what I did before or what I will do afterwards. I am in that very moment just running and it is fabulous. Thanks for sharing your great post 🙂

      August 21, 2012
  2. I have heard of some great benefits from meditation for running. I should try getting on that 30 day habit building schedule! If you’re interested, check out the book “Zen and the Art of Running.” Really really great read, and you can find it used quite cheap online.

    August 20, 2012
    • You should do it! 30 days will go by faster than you realize and it is a great way to try something you have always wanted to do. After the marathon season is over, I’m going to try swimming for one of my challenges. I’ve always wanted to do a triathlon and this will get me going in the right direction.

      Thanks for the book suggestions. It sounds like a fabulous read and I will definitely add it to my reading list. 🙂 Have a great Tuesday!!!

      August 21, 2012
  3. Great article, I’m going to watch the ted talk and make some progress. Thank you!

    August 21, 2012
    • Awesome! It’s a short video and quite inspiring. I hope you like it!

      August 21, 2012
      • That was an amazing video, I watched it with two other people and shared it on social media! You had a huge impact on us thank you for showing us the way.

        August 21, 2012
      • Michael, I’m so glad you enjoyed it and were able to share it with others. You totally made my day 🙂 So what is going to be your 30 day challenge? So many things to choose from!!

        August 21, 2012
      • On September 1st, I’m going to progress towards being my aspirational self. Exercising the body and mind each and everyday.

        August 21, 2012
  4. I’ve been learning the Chi Running technique, which is all about being mindful and present. It’s hard though, both in running and seated meditation! My instructor told me about this book, which I’m thinking of checking out. “Running with the Mind of Meditation” by Saykong Mipham. Good luck on your 30 days!

    August 21, 2012
    • Thanks for sharing the book – I’ll have to check it out as well. Someone else mentioned Zen and the Art of Running. They both sound pretty interesting.

      I took a Chi Running class over the summer and really enjoyed it. It was only 5 hours so I think some additional Chi lessons will be helpful. I remember after the class the next day I went out for a 10 mile run sans music and it was amazing! Every mile I tried to focus on something different – the lean, breathing, the arm swing, etc. 10 miles never went by so fast! Good luck with your chi running 🙂

      August 21, 2012

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  2. Becoming your aspirational self | Michael Pinto

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