Friday, July 27, 2012

Mindful Running

Did you know that Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan was variably inspired by the last words of convicted killer Gary Gilmore before he was executed by a firing squad in 1977?

It’s a piece of trivia to ignore considering how these three words now move people to action.  I haven’t learned of any catchphrase more compelling than this to propel anybody from 0 to 60 mph. You know what I mean. You want to run but are feeling lazy to get up from bed in the morning, but you just do it! You’re close to the finish line and your legs are burning in pain, but you just do it! You just don’t give yourself a darn second to analyze the situation, you just do it!

It’s a blitzkrieg of the mind that really works when you just want the run done and over with. You think  just do it! But how about a more subtle approach? Instead of a mental short circuit to do a run, how about planning out a more purposeful run? Try this. Before you run, condition your mind to receive some small pleasures along the way. During the run, be attentive and purposefully find something good, even how small, on your running path. Then, after the run, as you cool down, be thankful as you are satisfied, for getting a run in for the day.

Some people call it Mindful Running. It’s an alternative to just do it running. There are a handful of inspirational slogans that suit mindful running. Running is a journey not a destination.  There’s more to life than increasing its speed.  Stop and smell the roses. At least you can say these slogans without thinking of a firing squad.

Last weekend, I had to do a long run. My instinct as an athlete told me to just do it! But instead, I deliberately prepared to be mindful as I run. I planned my long run around other things which are just as worthwhile as covering the mileage I needed to do. Throughout the run, I would smile at every runner and passerby I meet and utter a blessing prayer. (I counted 9 people.) At every turn, I would sing a favorite song aloud as if I was singing in the shower. (Not too many turns this route. Whew!) And I also planned on remembering a number of people who requested prayers. I wrote down their names on my booklet which I tucked in my fuel belt. There were 11 of them to ponder over their prayer intentions and ask for God’s mercy and blessing on their behalf. (A mile for each of them and added one of my own in my list to pray for.)

So if you ask me how my long run was, here’s what I would say. It was awesome! I smiled at 9 strangers, I sang 6 favorite songs, and I prayed for 12 people in my list.

And speaking of prayer list, I am offering my marathon in San Francisco on July 29th for your prayer intentions. You can email me at or post it on my Facebook page or here in my blog. There is nothing more that inspires me to keep going than to remember and pray for other people.

Please pray for me, too, and God speed!

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