Mind Over Matter: Remember to Train Mind AND Body

In gearing up for some footraces (or ANY kind of athletic event), it is easy to focus on DOING MORE. Run more, workout more, cross train more, more, more more... It is also easy to forget the mindset work that undergirds everything you do. 

I know there are going to be some challenges and I know there will be some strain. Where the conditioning of my body hits its current peak, what will take me further? My mind. When running, rather than focusing on times, times, times, or letting my mind wander hither and thither, I train my mind to return to my mantra, return to a place of joy and belief in the midst of challenges. 

Here are two simple ways to train your mind and not just your body:

  1. Meditate. Take 10 minutes a day to breathe deeply and repeat a mantra that centers you. Thoughts will come, thoughts will go, simply return to your mantra. I have found that creating even 10 minutes of space in my morning clears clutter in my head. Meditation can be guided or just you in your own space, incorporated with movement (like yoga) or stillness. If you're looking for a place to start, lie on the floor with the lights on, set a ten-minute timer and close your eyes. Take deep, slow breaths in and out through the nose. When you feel your mind start to wander, exhale as you say your mantra, or maybe just a word you are focusing on. That's a great place to start! The breath work and focus work you are doing here will carry into the rest of your life. Meditate first thing in the morning. Then...
  2. Set limits, then push them. The best workouts are the ones that take you to the edge of your ability, and this is great mind/body training. Now take that same principle and apply it to your life elsewhere. Where are the felt limits in your schedule? In your energy? In your stewardship? In your work? Remember that your current capacity is shaped by what you BELIEVE you can do. Don't just take on more, focus on what is most important and challenge yourself THERE. The longest barefoot run I have done to this point was 10 miles. The thought of it scared me, so after a lot of excuse-making, I did it. My feet were sore for the rest of the week, but I did it. Set limits, then push them. 

We are expansive conscious beings who inhabit matter. As we work on our bodies, remember to work on our MINDS.