I do not particularly enjoy running – I’m not THAT crazy! Yet I still do it. Why?
It certainly has physical benefits, like reducing bodyfat, cardiovascular health, release of endorphins, etc. but that’s not the main reason for me.
Throughout the years, training has helped me tremendously with my mental health and to be the person I want to be. It significantly reduces fear and anxiety and boosts my confidence and motivation.
But running is different from other workouts. It’s monotonous and you cannot stop. You HAVE TO keep going. 10, 30, 60, 120 min. You are out of breath, too cold or too warm, your legs are starting to hurt, you are sweaty and tired. You are uncomfortable at best or downright in pain.
What can you do about it? Cling to it and feel sorry for yourself? Hell no!
Reject it and either distract yourself or stop? Not an option.
You just have to be with it. No judgement whatsoever. It becomes a meditation, which you can take and apply in your daily life. We all go through periods of sadness, stress, grief, pain. Sometimes they don’t last very long, but sometimes it feels like there is no end in sight. One has to then remain in a state where there is no conflict and no judgement (more on that in a later post/video).
It is a known fact that athletes who do ultramarathons (50, 100, 200 mile long runs) tend to experience hallucinations, and overall an altered state of consciousness. I am certainly not suggesting you should run such insane distances, I have never run more than 22 miles myself. Yet it shows us, that sports (when you are actively participating, not just watching ESPN on your TV) are one of the most accessible tools for the modern western man to reach altered states of consciousness, a state of meditation and to come back into the “felt presence of the immediate experience”, as Terence McKenna would say. Which is something most people in the West need more of in their lives.
You can watch my short YouTube video on this topic below.