As you probably know about me, I LOVE running in minimalist sandals now. However, there is something the book forgot to mention: the ‘other’ secret to amazing endurance, a love of running, and blissful, effortless miles. I call it Meditation in Motion.
Now, we could get a lot more complex on this topic, but for now I will give you the four main steps you can use to Meditate in Motion... this is assuming you already have a good meditation practice and potentially that you quantify it with an HRV device (not required).
Step 1: If you are using an HRV training system (the Heartmath Emwave2 or InnerBalance Sensor), try to maintain high coherence even with your eyes open. You will find that on the medium and high coherence levels, it is much easier to achieve high coherence with your eyes closed, so training with your eyes open allows you to begin to stay in high coherence even while active. If you master this, try to maintain high coherence while writing or doing n-back training.
Step 2: Work on consciously breathing deeply through your nose at all times - whenever you catch yourself not doing so, correct it.
Step 3 (Optional): A powerlung trainer can be used to strengthen your lungs. Basically, you will breathe in deeply through the mouth and exhale forcefully with this device, which serves two purposes:
It strengthens your lungs much like weight lifting strengthens your muscles, which will allow your lungs to access more fresh air when your body is using oxygen quickly (running, exercising).
It calms the nervous system response. The lizard brain in your head - that part of the brain that controls instinctual responses faster than you are able to think - will immediately freak out if it is not used to breathing under any sort of restrictions, and the Powerlung will help you to control that response so that when you apply this technique to an athletic pursuit, it already knows that you will be just fine.
Step 4: Go on a hike or get on a treadmill. Breathe only through your nose. If you can do this effectively at the current speed, then speed up gradually until you can no longer maintain your current level of activity while still breathing through your nose, at which point you will slow down. Repeat the process until you are running - this may take hours or a few weeks so be patient! Ultimately, you will find that you are able to go on runs or bike rides at the same pace that you were able to before... but you can go much longer. After a long run, you may find that you don’t want to stop... you are in a happy place.
Take it from me... I hated running until I discovered the wonders of Meditation in Motion.