Like spotting a deer in the woods, spying a mindful runner becomes much easier, once you know what to look for.
Before you know what to look for, you may find it hard to spot the elusive, ever-present, and ever-joyful mindful runner. But after you read this list and increase your own personal awareness, you’ll be able to pick one out, even amongst a sea of runners in your favorite marathon. Not only that, but you’ll begin incorporating these same traits as well.
So What Makes a Mindful Runner?
1. Look for the silent runner
The mindful runner is SILENT, like a ninja, though perhaps not wearing black, though then again, they may…
A mindful runner is keenly aware of how she places her foot, where she lands, and how she lands. Her ears and body are acutely attuned to the impact, or lack-there-of, and make moment-to-moment adjustments to ensure the lightest landing possible. This means no impact on joints, on the back, less effort, and it means they may frequently startle you whether out on the trails or local park, as they come running by silently. They run like ghosts, floating along, without making a sound nor breaking a branch, even on the most heavily wooded trails. The best mindful runners may be quite proficient at apologies, apologizing as they glide effortlessly by, for startling you out of your skin.
2. Look for the runner with perfect posture
They run with perfect posture – as if they’ve just left a yoga studio and warmed up with a few asanas. When you see a mindful runner, you immediately think of yoga, as they’re running tall and lean, shoulders pressed back, silvery string pulling their heads to the sky. In truth mindful running is “running yoga,” it’s complete body and ground awareness, helping make the tallest, lightest, springiest runner out there, using the body and forces of nature to do the work for them, always, and only in flow.
3. Look for the runner that appears to be free from internal distractions
The mindful runner is fully present and aware or running in the now. They are firmly committed or focused on the present moment and on nothing else.
The mindful runner isn’t thinking about the encounter they had this morning or the meeting they have this afternoon; nor about regrets, wishes, if-only’s or any of the sixty million repetitive shoulda, woulda, coulda thoughts we have each day. Instead they’re thinking of their foot falls, of their breath, and of the environment they’re immediately participating in.
You can tell this in a mindful runner because they’re the one that doesn’t trip, that see’s a tree branch, or dog poo, a hundred yards away and that always appears to be in just the right place, at the absolute perfect moment. They’re the ones for whom the light always turns green. For they are in the flow and in the moment, running on the ribbon of the now.
4. Look for the runner who appears to take it all in, but without losing focus…
…In other words the one who doesn’t appear to be a hyped up squirrel on a double-espresso latte.
The mindful runner takes in everything around them without getting distracted. They are true HD runners, running in a world that pops for them like a high-def television. The mindful runner is the one who appreciates the nuances of everything they see, hear, feel, smell, and even taste around them. They’ll know if you’re wearing too much perfume or even what’s in your gel pack. But more importantly, they’re enjoying the run because they’re no longer pushing through the scenery, but have become one with it.
They have a heightened sense of awareness, almost like a superhuman, or running with spidey-senses, giving them the ability to sense and appreciate everything around them much more. At the same time, they’re more acutely aware of any dangers, obstacles, or things to look out for. Seeing a mindful runner is like watching a forest animal, they’re both in the pure joy of the moment and acutely aware of where you are, in case they need to jump. They’re the first to spot danger, the first to get out of there and the first to appreciate the beauty in everything they see.
5. Look for the runner who’s so efficient it looks like they’re running with no effort at all
It’s said the mindful runner is so efficient they could run 100 miles on a single peanut…or less. The mindful runner is using gravity, chi, prana, and the energy inside, outside, and all around us, to carry her forward.
She’s running with perfect form, and perfect grace without a bit of wasted movement. No excess breath, no excess stride, not a part out of place, as she lets nature the work of carrying her along. It’s a beautiful thing to see and once spotted, you’ll inevitably being trying to emulate it as well.
See if you can start adapting some of these mindful runner traits and check back tomorrow for Part 2.
For now, this is Michael Sandler saying Be Mindful, Have Fun & Run Free!