All right, Athletic Bookworms! I want to wrap up our reading of Mindful Running with a couple of last thoughts on the book. Overall, this has been one of the better athletic books I’ve read in the last year, and made me change a bit about how I was running.
First, get caught up with what we’ve already chatted about:
- Mindful Running by Mackenzie Havey — Athletic Bookworms Book Club
- All About Mindful Running with Mackenzie Havey on The Consummate Athlete Podcast
- Mindful Running: Part 1 for The Athletic Bookworms
For me, the best part of this book came in the first half, if I’m being honest. I really loved the concept of adding some meditative elements to my running (and riding) since I kind of suck at meditation on a regular basis just sitting. And I’ve had a bit of a high-anxiety few months, so I really needed a kick in the butt to get back to focusing on more mindfulness, less freaking out. Meditation during a run I was going to do anyway was great.
The book is really interesting and an easy read, as well: Mackenzie writes in the first person, so it’s pretty easy to follow along and get immersed in the story. She talks to experts, plus pro runners, and backs up all of her claims and advice with hard science and ample anecdotes.
Now, obviously, this book is about running… But I ended up feeling like it was incredibly relevant life-wise as well. She talks about meditation and what to do when you can’t get thoughts to shut up instep two, fathom, and writes a ton about how to practice non-attachment, and to let things go. That is ABSOLUTELY something I need to do more of in my life/brain. (She also notes that for a lot of writers, from Murakami to Joyce Carol Oates, running has been one of the main ways that they’ve cleared their minds to bust through writing ruts. I can definitely relate.)
The exercises sprinkled throughout are great, and even though I’ve read a ton of articles about mindfulness and things like keeping a gratitude journal, thinking about those things in the context of running was weirdly helpful in driving those points home.
Towards the end, I admit, I had a bit of a lull. I felt like I was already doing the meditative running thanks to the first two parts, so I almost stopped. But pushing through a) deepened the meditative flow I was already getting better at, and b) got me to the chapter on racing and race day anxiety, and how to use meditation to get through that. Now, that was interesting for me!
Really, I highly recommend this book to any athlete, especially those in endurance sport who like the idea of meditation and mindfulness but feel too busy to commit to any kind of practice. It was a great one to have on hand for a crazy few weeks of travel and work. (I’d also recommend it as a present for the busy runner—especially those Type A ones—in your life!)
PS: in case you were wondering, the shoes in the header image are my favorite ultra-lightweight running shoes, VivoBarefoot’s Primus Lite … highly recommend to barefoot runners!)
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