Timothy Olson is the two-time winner and record holder of Western States 100 Mile race. Timothy enjoys long runs up mountains, challenging his body, mind and spirit. Timothy finds inspiration in the land, trees, mountains and wildlife, connecting with them on the run, feeling their energy, allowing him to run wild and free. He resides in Boulder, CO with his wife, Krista, and sons Tristan & Kai.
Be present in your running and life.
Here are a few tips on how to get started as you introduce mindfulness into your running and life. There’s no need to find extra time in your day, take meditation for a spin during your regular workout with guided meditation for on the run. I start my morning run by plugging in my Jaybird RUN headphones and listening to a guided meditation with Run Mindful to start my day focused yet relaxed, ready to take on the day. Check out our *new* Run Mindful app for a free week of guided meditations to try out on your run.
Just Breath – When all else fails just breathe. When life is good, breathe. When life is tough, breathe. Simply notice your breath, follow it in and out, as it’s a great way to focus your attention. Focusing on the present moment through your breath is mindfulness. It can help you be calm and balanced – try it out for yourself and see how mindfulness, similar to running, brings about a bit more ease in your life.
Feel Your Body – Mindfulness is moment to moment awareness, open and okay to whatever comes your way. As you start your run, notice how your body feels. Not labeling anything good or bad, just be curious of all the sensations you feel. Starting with your feet is a great place to start. Just notice how each foot strike feels, feeling the texture of the ground with the pressure of your foot landing and propelling. Do you feel light or heavy, not judging just becoming aware of your body as you enjoy the flow of the run; this is a great way to start your mindfulness practice by tuning into your body.
Photo by: Fred Marmsater
Tap into Motivation & Intentions – The Tibetan word for motivation is kunlong, it means “to rise up”. What motivates you to rise to the occasion? Once you set your motivation, you state why you’re doing this exercise. Once you know why, you can use that to set your intentions to help you place your focus on how you want to respond in each moment – in exercise, meditation or life. Having a plan, having an aim is key. My motivation for running and meditation is to be physically healthy and overcome my addictive personality. To help support these motivations, these goals, I set an intention for being patient and present during my run and throughout my day.
Don’t Force It – Meditation is a workout, an endurance practice for the mind. But you can’t crush a meditation, you can’t force it, it’s a practice. Just like with running, consistency is key, not every outing can be your best run or your best meditation. By sticking with your practice, you are building strength, both mentally and physically. Although intense workouts like speed work or long runs help you get stronger, recovery days are just as important. Be kind to yourself, if you miss a day – that’s ok, remember the benefits, lace your shoes back-up he next day and continue your practice.
Photo by: Greg Snyder
Be Grateful – Right now, start by being grateful for air to breath and a body that moves. Life can have challenging moments, aim to see the good things in life. Choosing to be grateful gently shifts your attitude which can do wonders for you, your running and your life. Each morning start your day by affirming your gratitude for life, even in the low times. I find it helpful to write down these thoughts of what I’m thankful for – just a few simple notes each day. Our app has a journal that pops up after each meditation allowing you to note some thoughts to help continue your day with gratitude.
Keep in touch with Timothy!