Meditation on the Treadmill--wha?

Guest post by Victoria Ellis. She's a student at Lesley University and she's interning with me this semester and rockin' at it.  

I am one of those people who cringe when thinking about running on the treadmill.  The thought of staring straight ahead of me out the window looking onto the quad on the main campus of Lesley University proves itself to be difficult for me because I do not like to stay on the treadmill for longer than two minutes.  On the very first day of training, I hopped on the treadmill to begin my seven-minute warm up.  Just two minutes into the run I looked down at the clock and could not believe how tired and dry my mouth was from just two minutes on the treadmill.  I knew that moment that I needed to change my attitude about the treadmill before running on it could get any easier for me.

I usually do not have to get on the treadmill because I am from Southern California and can run outside year around.  But because I am an athlete in Cambridge now, I have to get on it quite frequently.  The feelings I used to have towards the treadmill were negative, which hindered my fitness tremendously.  I see girls able to run on the treadmill for hours, and I pant after just two minutes.  It is embarrassing sometimes.

We began training about six weeks ago for our spring soccer season and we have a gym workout (including the treadmill) three times a week.  My total time spent running  s p r i n t s  on the treadmill totals about an hour and a half per week, so as you can see I have become very close to the treadmill.

Instead of hating the treadmill and avoiding that part of the workout (because it is mostly unsupervised) I decided to take this spring soccer season as a chance to become more familiar with the treadmill and strategies to make running on it easier for me.  During the past six weeks I adapted to the treadmill and I would like to share my technique with you!

Meditating.  Instead of thinking about how I DON’T want to be on the treadmill, I began to become aware of my body and my thoughts.  I would find myself wandering from topic to topic, body part to body part, and before I would know it my warm up would be over!  Time flies when I focus my mind on other things while on the treadmill.  After about three weeks of struggling on the treadmill, I noticed a change in both my health and my attitude about running.  This proves the rather new concept of psychoneuroimmunology, where the body is affected by the mind and vice versa.  My thoughts improved as my physical fitness improved and vice versa.

Meditating connected my body with my mind, which allowed me to increase my time and speed while running on the treadmill.  I used to think that meditating needed to be done in a quiet room while sitting on a pillow cross-legged, but it can be done while exercising too!  I highly suggest for those who want to increase their capabilities on the treadmill to meditate and run on it for three weeks, like I did, and see what happens.  Now I am on week six and now the treadmill does not even faze me.  Changing my thoughts about the treadmill helped me stay on it for longer.