Sri Chinmoy is a well-known spiritual leader from India who taught meditation in the West after moving to New York City in 1964. He believed that all physical activity gives us the energy to accomplish everything we need to throughout the day. Chinmoy sought out running as the physical activity that helped him keep his body or his temple intact. He preached that the better we treat our body, the more inspired we will be to meditate. “Again, if I am inspired to get up early to meditate, then I will also be able to go out and run,” expressed Chinmoy.
Below is an inspiring list that can help you jump start a new running habit. Not only will you improve your physical being, but it can also become a part of your spiritual life.
- Invest in good shoes
When it comes to running shoes, one size does not fit all. If your shoes don’t provide adequate support, you will suffer increased foot, shin, knee, hip and back pain. The injuries are a problem in themselves, but they will also sap your running motivation. Getting started as a runner is challenging, and you’re unlikely to manage it if going out for a run is excessively painful. So, it’s essential to get properly fitted for running shoes. Most sports shops now have trained running specialists, who will assess your gait and strike pattern and recommend a few brands and models of shoe. Try on plenty of different options and ask lots of questions. Don’t worry about annoying the shop assistant, most running specialists love their work and genuinely want to help fledgling runners. You don’t need to buy anything outrageously expensive, but it is worth investing in a quality shoe. Running is one of the cheapest sports out there, as shoes are the only specialist equipment you’ll need, so make sure you get the right ones.
- Fight boredom
For many people, running is a mental challenge as much as a physical one. Long runs can be very dull. The solution is to find something to occupy yourself when you run. Many runners create playlists for their workouts, with a mix of fast beats for high-intensity workouts and slower ballads for long runs. Alternatively, listening to podcasts or audiobooks can while away the miles. While you get stronger physically, you can also up your game mentally. You can learn a new language, develop your knowledge of current affairs, or learn about a new subject.
- Bring a Buddy
Having a friend to run with has countless advantages. If you have someone you’ve arranged to meet, you’re less likely to bail on your planned workout, and there will be someone to chat to on the road. Additionally, when either person is having a tough day (they happen to everyone), the other can set a pace and encourage them to keep it up. At weekends, you can turn your run into a real outing. Plan your route so that it finishes near a nice café or restaurant.
The greatest advantage of running is that you can do it anywhere, rather than toiling away in a sweaty, noisy gym. Use the opportunity, don’t just run in the same suburban or industrial areas. Running is for explorers, so find somewhere beautiful to exercise. This could be a local park, a riverbank or an interesting, artistic urban area. If you’re on holiday, discover the local area by running. Or every month you could try to get out into a national park or other striking natural landscape. Running in that kind of atmosphere strengthens the body, but also refreshes the mind.
Racing isn’t the only reason to run, but it’s a great addition to your workout program. Any race, from a 5km to an ultra-marathon, drives your training forward by providing a target. There’s also a fantastic buzz at most races, which are an excellent way to get to know other runners. It’s often quite an isolated sport, and races remind you that you’re part of a broader running community. As the popularity of running explodes, there are races all over the world for every ability level. There’s also nothing like the feeling of crossing a finish line, no matter how long it takes!
In fact, Sri Chinmoy felt that holding races for the public would give the running community joy and an avenue for friendly competition. In addition to hosting hundreds of races of various distances, he founded the 3100-mile race which “represents an affirmation of his teachings on self-transcendence, an opportunity to manifest the hidden potential of the soul in a practical and dynamic way.”
Find out more about the Sri Chinmoy marathon team here: https://www.srichinmoyraces.org/.