Long distance running (marathon / Ultra Marathon) running

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b man, modified 7 Years ago at 3/6/15 11:32 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/6/15 11:32 AM

Long distance running (marathon / Ultra Marathon) running

Posts: 199 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
Hi all, 

Im finding that my meditation helps with running longer and longer distances. Especially long runs when many of my friends get bored, I am finding alot of simularties between long runs and long meditation sits. 

Wondering if there are many of you who are into distance running also? and if you think meditation helps with it. 

the other thought I have been having about it recently is that its kind of also paradoxical to Vipassana. It seems that vipasana and spiritual life in general is about being gentle to yourself, letting your heart and mind open and releasing old hurts. It sometimes feels like distance running is the opposite and is quite the onsaught to the body, not being that kind! I have recently realised that slowing down and always making sure you enjoy the Long runs is much more conducive to being kind to yourself and obviously the body loves exercise, so I guess there are a few interplaying things at work to consider. 

Any thoughts?

Cheers, 
Will
C P M, modified 7 Years ago at 3/6/15 1:23 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/6/15 1:22 PM

RE: Long distance running (marathon / Ultra Marathon) running

Posts: 218 Join Date: 5/23/13 Recent Posts
b man:
...
the other thought I have been having about it recently is that its kind of also paradoxical to Vipassana. It seems that vipasana and spiritual life in general is about being gentle to yourself, letting your heart and mind open and releasing old hurts. It sometimes feels like distance running is the opposite and is quite the onsaught to the body, not being that kind! I have recently realised that slowing down and always making sure you enjoy the Long runs is much more conducive to being kind to yourself and obviously the body loves exercise, so I guess there are a few interplaying things at work to consider. 

Any thoughts?

I haven't run in a few years, but what you wrote resonates with me.  I'm noticing the tendency to ease up on myself mostly while working, it's a new strange way for me.  I sometimes feel that I should be pushing myself more and go back to the old habits of anxiety and stress, but work seems to get done just the same.  There is also a sense of just letting things unfold and not trying to force them, and the idea that I can't really control it, or I'm not doing it anyway, so bearing down doesn't help. It seems like a process of opening/freeing/releasing.
Change A, modified 7 Years ago at 3/6/15 6:15 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/6/15 6:15 PM

RE: Long distance running (marathon / Ultra Marathon) running

Posts: 791 Join Date: 5/24/10 Recent Posts
Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hiei

Marathon monks

John Stevens wrote the book The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei,chronicling the practice of running long distances – up to 52 miles (84 km) a day for 100 straight days, in an effort to attain enlightenment. The practice of running is known as the kaihōgyō.A 2010 US National Public Radio report described the sennichi kaihōgyō (thousand-day kaihōgyō) as...1,000 days of walking meditation and prayer over a seven-year period around Mount Hiei. [The 13th disciple since WWII to complete the cycle] walked 26 miles a day for periods of either 100 or 200 consecutive days — a total distance about the same as walking around the Earth.
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b man, modified 7 Years ago at 3/6/15 6:32 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/6/15 6:32 PM

RE: Long distance running (marathon / Ultra Marathon) running

Posts: 199 Join Date: 11/25/11 Recent Posts
ah thats awesome, thanks. I did hear about these guys from someone but fogot about them. Documentary looks really good! 
Victor, modified 7 Years ago at 3/7/15 6:30 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/7/15 6:30 AM

RE: Long distance running (marathon / Ultra Marathon) running

Posts: 22 Join Date: 2/1/15 Recent Posts
At a bit of a tangent but in response to "being gentle with yourserlf" I've recently read that we're not designed for continuous running (made sense to me) and that the stretching of contracting muscles on impact while running has some fairly serious implications (over a twenty-year period), which also made sense to me.

I've looked for the article but I can't find it again. However, you might find this interesting, as I think that there's possibly a significant reduction in potential long-term long term physical damage if you use this method (and he claims that you can improve your times): -

http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/run-walk/
Jack Hatfield, modified 7 Years ago at 3/7/15 6:51 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/7/15 6:51 AM

RE: Long distance running (marathon / Ultra Marathon) running

Posts: 98 Join Date: 7/5/10 Recent Posts
My long distance running days are over but I have run 3 marathons better than 3:30 and  over 100 10K's in the past. I also ran 400 meters in high school, college and masters track.  (Different seasons for each.) I was always in the moment while running and never got bored. I don't know if running helped my meditation or meditation helped my running.

One thought that helped me was reading about a top marathoner who said while on the starting line to never think about having to run 2+ hours without a stop. It would seem to be a daunting task. Just take one step at a time. I learned about relaxing and letting my body and training take over while running the 400 m. Something I do while doing just sitting meditation. Another simularity is my learning not be to embedded in pain. I learned to watch and fully accept whatever happened in my body, for instance, after 22 miles in the marathon.

One of the most enjoyable times I have had in my life was 10 mile training runs. Boy, I miss those.

jack
C P M, modified 7 Years ago at 3/7/15 2:51 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/7/15 2:51 PM

RE: Long distance running (marathon / Ultra Marathon) running

Posts: 218 Join Date: 5/23/13 Recent Posts
In the past I often developed knee pain when running, forcing me to back off and eventually having to stop.  For my last season of running, I switched to minimalist footwear and forefoot striking rather than a heal strike.  After slowly ramping up with the new style, I was able to run further and without any joint problems. So for me, forefoot striking was much easier on the body.
Victor, modified 7 Years ago at 3/18/15 8:42 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/9/15 8:48 AM

RE: Long distance running (marathon / Ultra Marathon) running

Posts: 22 Join Date: 2/1/15 Recent Posts
There's a lot of discussion about this within the running community and it seems that style of running suits some people. My concern would be that it might put even more stress on bones, muscles and tendons.

Even using the run/walk system I use New Balance 859s and add sorbothane double-strike footbeds, although that ramps up the weight considerably, as they weigh about 70 grammes each.

Luckily, I'm not into competitive running so I can mix run/walk with long walks (minimum 10k per day), cycling, a Concept2, and an elliptical stepper.

I find that the long walks are the best practice opportunities as well as being exercise and active recovery sessions.
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Drew Miller, modified 7 Years ago at 3/9/15 12:36 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/9/15 12:35 PM

RE: Long distance running (marathon / Ultra Marathon) running

Posts: 61 Join Date: 11/22/13 Recent Posts
Hi B Man,

I have been running distance for over 20 years now. I actually began my meditation practice while running, having learned the concept of mindfulness and applied it while running distance before I had a formal sitting meditation practice.  My experience is that it has benefits and drawbacks as it relates to meditation practice. It definitely increases energy for me and I find it helpful similar to how walking meditation is helpful to increase energy when energy is low. I've also found that it is a useful practice to learn to rest and remain calm amidst unpleasant sensation.  I do find that it tightens my muscles significantly and I have always had difficulties sitting comfortably for long periods (longer than two hours continuously) as a result.  I find it necessary to incorporate lengthening/stretching exercises like yoga and rolling out tight muscles with a foam roller to work out the kinks.  I have found that the running has decreased as my sitting meditation has increased over the years as I find that the desire to achieve anything with running has also decreased and the running has become increasingly meditative and gentle (I don't go out and hammer as much as I used to and have decreased the miles I run during the week significantly.).  I find it to be an excellent form of vipassana when the resolve/intention is set prior to the run to practice as such.
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Psi, modified 7 Years ago at 3/9/15 8:25 PM
Created 7 Years ago at 3/9/15 8:25 PM

RE: Long distance running (marathon / Ultra Marathon) running

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 11/22/13 Recent Posts
b man:
Hi all, 

Im finding that my meditation helps with running longer and longer distances. Especially long runs when many of my friends get bored, I am finding alot of simularties between long runs and long meditation sits. 

Wondering if there are many of you who are into distance running also? and if you think meditation helps with it. 

the other thought I have been having about it recently is that its kind of also paradoxical to Vipassana. It seems that vipasana and spiritual life in general is about being gentle to yourself, letting your heart and mind open and releasing old hurts. It sometimes feels like distance running is the opposite and is quite the onsaught to the body, not being that kind! I have recently realised that slowing down and always making sure you enjoy the Long runs is much more conducive to being kind to yourself and obviously the body loves exercise, so I guess there are a few interplaying things at work to consider. 

Any thoughts?

Cheers, 
Will

Hey b man, 

Two Marathons, two halfs, high school track, no spectacluar times, been running mostly for just the last couple of years, had a decade plus of chronic knee pain before the Marathons, that is another story...

But running and meditation, Yes! So similar, the mind seems to calm down after a while , on it's own.  It is the same with a long walk also.  Running also gives one ample opportunities to observe the mind and the arising of attraction and aversion, the "I" wish it were over, "I" wish I were faster, one is almost forced to train the mind to abandon these mental defilements and bring the mind back to the present moment just to endure long runs with sanity.

Personally, I have been cutting back on the weekly mileage, going to probably stay out at 3-4 times a week, and under 12-15 weekly miles, maybe even less.  More of a middle way type of thing, too much running cuts into strength training gains, and uses alot of energy.

I think running and normal speed or even brisk walking are excellent times to delve into mindfulness or even contemplations, what else is there to do when the brain is bouncing along for the ride, eh?

But, to be honest,  most times I am enjoying the ole mp3 player....  emoticon  Lots of restlessness, and at this point I still like to jam out....

Psi
Scott Kinney, modified 7 Years ago at 4/21/15 10:25 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 4/21/15 10:25 AM

RE: Long distance running (marathon / Ultra Marathon) running

Posts: 112 Join Date: 4/7/15 Recent Posts
b_man,

half-marathoner and martial artist here. I have found that the disciplines that help in meditation also help in running and other training. Basic concentration helps with maintaining form and mechanics, noting helps recognize transitory discomforts without dwelling on them, and high-frequency observation helps with checking in on form periodically, and releasing any tension that's crept in.

If you're a fan of pure concentration, 'mental movies' of running form and technique can be helpful. (Sorry, I have a weird collection of meditation, autogenics and sports visualization techniques in my tool kit built up over time.)

To your other question; there's a quote in MCTB that might help (page 70, the section on Equanimity) "...relates to a lack of struggle even when struggling, to effortlessness even in effort."   In my own practice, I apply this as meaning, I can have performance goals, I can even work hard to achieve them, I have a responsibility to understand proper recovery and cycling of training, and it means that I can note happiness or disappointment with results or successes without getting "rolled" by stories and drama about them. "Hard, Responsible Push" is a concept one of my cooaches has used to describe working really hard for a defined goal or purpose without being stupid about it.

Just my thoughts, as always Your Mileage May (and probably will) Vary,
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finding-oneself *, modified 7 Years ago at 4/22/15 1:58 AM
Created 7 Years ago at 4/22/15 1:58 AM

RE: Long distance running (marathon / Ultra Marathon) running

Posts: 252 Join Date: 1/7/14 Recent Posts
The fathest I've ran is 14 miles a couple times. I think it's good for dealing with unpleasant side effects of meditation and stress in general. Often times I do just the oposite of meditation when running, I just tune out of the body and am often listening to dharma talks. I like the endorphin boost it gives me but don't often capitilize on the time to meditatie. However I love walking meditation. Something about it just settles me into a peaceful present state or stage. Every moment there is this wide open visual field refreshed the next moment with a new position slightly in different from the previous one. Each one of these is accompanied by the changing shape of the body as I walk. It's easy to stabilize the concentration like this often when I'm having trouble getting to it on the cushion. And then I throw in the third main sense door of sound balancing the effort of maintaining mindfulness of all three with the effortlessness of the less mindful, but more tranquil state of just the two senses. All while paying attention to mental stuff as often as I can in a similar balancing manner. There is something about this that really cultivates patience.

I'm definitely going to try that walk/run stuff.

In contrast to running, I really hate weight training and DO practice meditation while doing it. I play with a kettle bell and really try to embody whatever posture I'm in moment to moment with the thing. I think it's easier for me to meditate when doing weight training because I dislike it and have already trained my mind to just tune out when running (I started running before I started meditating), which is easier (lazier) than meditating and noticing how much my body hurts. If I was gungho about insight goals I would do it but I'm trying to balance it with a stronger emphasis on training in morality. With weight training I notice the pain automatically so why not meditate? Good for both trainings.

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