Why I Run

running is meditation

Every time I tell people I run, they ask: “Are you training for a marathon?” Or they ask if I’ve ever run a marathon.

Somehow, most of us believe that running a marathon is the ultimate benchmark of running. I used to think that too.

The ‘Marathon’ story is probably one of the most well know stories in the world. The most mythical version goes like this:

The Persians were battling the Greeks in the fifth century B.C. And at the Battle Of Marathon, the Athenian army was outnumbered four to one. There was a full-on battle going on at Marathon.

The Persians were losing, and some of them decided to set sail for Athens. In the meantime, the Greeks won the battle. So the Greeks asked a guy named Pheidippides to run to Athens (26 miles away) to warn them about the approaching Persian ships.

Do you think that’s impressive? Well, there’s more. BEFORE our first ‘Marathoner’ ran 26 miles, he’d run 140 miles already to ask the Spartan army for help. That took him 36 hours.

Also, the 140 miles he ran was a one-way trip. So he had to run another 140 miles all the way back to give them the message that the Spartans couldn’t help them out. Imagine how poor old Pheidippides felt.

Anyway, the guy represents the fittest man on earth. He pushed the limits of human endurance. Impressive, indeed.

Oh yeah, I missed one detail: The poor bastard DIED after he delivered his final message in Athens.

What’s impressive about that? I prefer to not die after a run.

To me, running has no end goal.

Let’s not even discuss whether this story is true or not. It’s a pretty fucking good story. But it’s a story. A myth.

Nevertheless, I have a lot of respect for people who run marathons and ultramarathons. And if that’s what motivates you, go for it.

But that’s not how I’m wired. And I see a lot of people who pick up running for the wrong reasons. I’ve also experienced that myself.

I thought that running a race is the only reason you should run. But once I learned more about myself, I discovered that I don’t care about races. I’m not competitive in that way. In fact, it even demotivates me when I try to train for a race.

I hate running with an end in mind.

  • “I want to run 10K.”
  • “I want to run a marathon.”
  • “I want to run 5K in 20 minutes.”

I get that it motivates others. But I don’t care about that. Also, when I fail to achieve goals like that, I feel like I’ve failed. And then I quit running for a while.

I don’t know why that is. But I just know that it doesn’t work for me to set goals for running. Also, I hate to run with other people or in crowded places. So running a race is out of the question for me anyway.

Running is my meditation.

A lot of people love traditional meditation. I don’t. I’ve tried it. Just not my style.

But I do like the outcome of mediation. Ask people who meditate daily, and they say it changed their life. They feel more in control of their life, emotions, energy, and focus.

Who doesn’t want that?

And that’s exactly the effect running has on me. But here’s the thing: I have to approach running as meditation. Not like a race.

You don’t compete in meditation battles, right?

“Yeah dude! My meditation skills beat yours every day of the week! Suck on that.”

It doesn’t make sense. You do it for the process and the outcome. Not to prove something.

One of my friends meditates for years. She told me she achieves different states of minds after years of meditation. In a way, she’s better at it now. She’s more consistent, can do it for longer, and she gets more powerful outcomes. That took practice.

Like she says: “Meditation is more than closing your eyes and saying hmmmm.”

I can relate because when you run for years, you’re much more in control of your body, breath, thoughts, energy, muscles, and life.

And that’s why I run.

  • Not because it’s cool
  • Not because I can buy cool running gear
  • Not because I can brag about it
  • Not because others run
  • Not because it’s healthy

I run because I need it. It’s more about self-awareness, focus, and productivity than it is about fitness.

When I run, I don’t think about anything else. I only focus on breathing through my nose, the way I land my feet, how fast I run, and how my body feels. And at the same time, I try to enjoy the outdoors too.

Tune out from the world. Every day.

This article is not about how to build a daily running habit (this one is). It’s also not about convincing you that running is good or bad.

And that you get ideas, or that it will make you more productive. Those things are true, yes, but it’s not the most important thing.

I want to challenge you to find your own form of meditation. Find a way to tune out from the world and become one with the present.

Sit down on the floor and repeat your favorite word, go mountain biking, walk in the hills, swim in the sea, whatever works for you.

Just make sure you get out from it all every single day. And when you come back, you’ll be ready to take on all this madness of life again with full force.

 

 

Thanks for reading!

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17 comments

  1. It’s difficult to describe running. I have run for many years and know exactkly what you are talking about. Running allows ones mind to flow so freely.. my clearest and most creative thoughts have happened on a run! I have sold running shoes at a shop,I have trained people to run various distances, I have coached cross county, and run many races personally, but there is nothing like getting up early and strapping on those shoes to let the flow begin!!

  2. Hi

    As you rightly said now it is easy to read the full post in email itself for lazy folks like me, lol. Really thought provoking.

    Sundar

  3. I looove d way you put together meditation & running <3
    Im doing both but separated. U gave me new idea, thank you Darius! 🙂

  4. Hey,

    Do you listen to music when running? Podcasts?
    Also, what are you thoughts on different technology to measure your run – activity monitors, Endomondo, etc.

  5. How about with a cup of coffee on the porch or by a sunny window? Also taking a walk works great. In the winter I mostly exercise inside and that doesn’t feel very meditative for me 😉

    But a cup of coffee in the sunshine and no phone does.

  6. I have ran for a few years and always find it hard to explain the feeling you get from it, I recently tried mediation and couldn’t really find my flow.

    I have never heard or read of anyone calling a run a mediation but it totally makes sense to me.

    Great post

  7. Im the same way when it comes to running! I have to run bc Im in the Army, and I have a physical fitness test every 6 months, but I enjoy running for the moment of running. I pass my test, but barely. Ppl tell me its bc Im lazy, its honestly just because I don’t like running for times, I like just enjoying the run!

  8. I didn’t think anyone else felt about running the same way as I do. A lot of of my friends don’t understand how I consider running as a “me time” activity instead of going to get a massage or a medi/pedi or retail therapy at the mall – which are all great things but when I do those things, I don’t feel peace or relief or “quiet” like I do when I run. I also often meditate and “talk to Creator” when I run…it may sound crazy but that’s our QT moments.

    Thanks for your post! #iamnotalone

  9. This is the first time I’ve heard someone else say that running is their meditation also. That’s awesome. For me running helps me center my thoughts and get the negative energy out. Running also helps my subconscious work on solving problems. Some people get ideas in the shower, but for me I get them while running. Great article and inspiration. Thanks! 🙂

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