Running and meditation share many similarities. Both activities involve focusing on your breath, being present in your body, and observing your thoughts and sensations. That’s why incorporating a pre-running meditation into your routine can greatly benefit you before you hit the pavement, trail, or track.
Lauren Zucker, co-founder and CEO of the wellness studio Sage + Sound, emphasizes the importance of being in the right mindset before any fitness activity. She suggests creating an intention and taking slow breaths to calm your nervous system and prepare yourself for the run.
Aside from clearing your mind and soothing your nervous system, engaging in a pre-run meditation can also have a positive impact on your brain chemistry. Running instructor Ryan McCann, founder of Cool Fit Club, leads meditations before group runs and swims. He explains that meditating activates neurogenesis in the prefrontal cortex, which is crucial for concentration. Additionally, aerobic exercise stimulates the generation of neurons in the hippocampus, which plays a key role in memory. By meditating before your workout, you can tap into the focus zone, enhance your concentration, and improve muscle memory, making your runs more comfortable and enjoyable.
One form of meditation that holds a special appeal for Zucker is sound meditation. This practice involves listening to various sounds that help calm the mind. Sound healing strikes a balance between providing less instruction than guided meditation and more stimulation than complete silence. Zucker personally prefers sound meditation as her pre-running meditation because it helps her focus on her running goals.
If you’re interested in trying a pre-run meditation, you can listen to a 10-minute mindfulness meditation for mental strength and focus by Dara Hart from Sage + Sound on this week’s episode of The Well+Good Podcast. You can also explore meditation tips for beginners or subscribe to a meditation app that offers a wider range of resources.
For more wellness advice from Zucker on combining mindfulness with movement, tune in to this week’s episode of The Well+Good Podcast. And no matter how you choose to get moving, always remember to breathe.