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Mindfulness in Motion: Integrating Meditation into Endurance Training

Mindfulness in Motion: Integrating Meditation into Endurance Training JoAnne Bullard Run Tri Bike

Most endurance athletes strive to enhance their physical and mental training for their sport. Being a mindful athlete has become a common phrase over the past few years. What does it mean to be a mindful athlete? Can you have mindfulness in motion? There are many ways to define this, but overall, it is when an athlete can be fully present and aware of the current moment or situation without judgment. A mindful approach also means the athlete pays attention to their thoughts, feelings, and environment. 

As athletes enhance their mindfulness, they may notice changes in their ability to concentrate, focus, and rebound from mistakes. There are numerous ways to develop mindfulness in motion, one of which is through a powerful technique known as meditation.  

Benefits of Meditation for Endurance Athletes

Meditation is a technique that assists athletes in clearing their minds and working, enhancing awareness and attentional focus. Meditation can be implemented into an athlete’s schedule at any point during the day when they feel it connects best for them. The most important aspect is to make sure that there are minimal distractions. There are also several different ways to meditate. Some athletes can meditate independently, while others prefer listening to a guided meditation on an app or video.     

Whatever an athlete chooses, developing a consistent meditation practice can benefit them in numerous ways.  

Enhanced Focus and Concentration: Meditation helps athletes develop focus and attention control, which can benefit them during training sessions and races. Concentration can also be enhanced, which will assist an endurance athlete in making decisions, pacing themselves, and adjusting to pacing, intensity, and effort in real time.

Emotional Regulation: Endurance racing can be a very emotional environment.   Most athletes experience highs and lows.   Becoming mindful helps athletes navigate their emotions and bounce back from setbacks and mistakes.

Stress Reduction: An athlete’s life is very stressful.   Most athletes balance the demands of their sport alongside the demands of work, school, social life, etc.   Meditation has been found to assist in promoting relaxation and stress management.   Reducing stress will help an athlete enhance their recovery, prevent burnout, and boost overall well-being. 

Increased Resilience: Implementing a consistent meditation practice will assist athletes in developing mental resilience. This resilience assists athletes in persevering through setbacks and challenges that they will experience. Enhancing resilience will help athletes stay motivated throughout their rigorous schedule.  


Developing a meditation practice takes time to happen. It takes time to grow and develop the practice. Some days, meditation will be very easy, and other days might be more challenging. Staying consistent and patient, which is very similar to physically training for a sport, is critical. An athlete should establish realistic goals and set aside specific times to mediate to fit their schedule.

Meditation sessions don’t have to be long! Incorporate mindful moments throughout the day where the athlete can work on paying attention to smaller sensations, like breathing or form. Also, athletes should start with shorter sessions (5-10 minutes) and gradually increase their duration as they become comfortable. Athletes also need to recognize that this is their journey. Meditation techniques that work for one athlete might only work for some athletes. Experiment with techniques like focused attention or body scan meditation to find which resonates best with the athlete.

Embracing the Mind-Body Connection

Endurance athletes thrive on developing physical skill sets, mental resilience, and focus. By incorporating mindfulness in motion and meditation proactively into training routines, athletes can enhance their self-awareness levels, manage stress more efficiently, and elevate their overall performance. Embracing the mind-body connection assists athletes in cultivating a fulfilled athletic journey.


Dr JoAnne Bullard Run Tri Bike Magazine Doctor of Sport and Performance Psychology

JoAnne Bullard is a Doctor of Sport and Performance Psychology and a Certified Mental Performance Consultant through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. She is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

She serves as a tenured Associate Professor at Rowan University and is the owner of Absolute Fitness, LLC.  Her goal is to provide a holistically applied approach for clients through performance psychology consulting. She has experience working with athletes of all ages, including endurance athletes, in individual and group sessions.  Her research areas include mindfulness, performance anxiety, goal setting, coping strategies, and mental well-being of athletes.

She has completed five marathons, numerous half-marathons, and is always looking for her next race.