Getting off on the right foot (no pun intended) for the mind/body approach for beginning runners is crucial. I have proven this many times with research on thousands of runners over many years. To my pleasant surprise when surveyed groups I found that, besides improving their times by 15 o 20% a primary feedback was that the mental aspects were greatly enjoyed and made the running much easier. This mindful running for beginning runners is accomplished for beginners in small increments, and is carried forward by a few techniques initially. I ask beginners to begin with a couple of practices.
First at least three times a week begin to do relaxation exercises. We begin by simply counting our breaths from one to four. Inhale one breathe and exhale two. Repeat this for a few minutes counting one on the inhale and two on the exhale. It is helpful to pause on the inhale for a split second at the end of each inhale and exhale. If you lose count, that is ok, just simply start the count again. When you sense that the rhythm if going ok, then simply stop counting to four and start watching your mind without the counting. Let this continue for a while and then. Your initial goal is five to ten minutes. Just notice the thoughts going through your mind. If the watching is scattered go back to the counting until things smooth out.
Secondly, after a run do this exercise, I call the full body recovery. Stand and exhale all the breath out of your lungs, and let the breath come in perhaps with a color like white, green or something refreshing. Then go through your body from your feet, up through your calves, and up to your diagram, chest and top of your lungs. Continue tightening and relaxing your muscles throughout your body. Imagine when the tightening and relaxing in each part of yourself is done than a swirl of energy goes through that part of the body and then is let go. In time you will find this exercise, which is derived from the work of Dr. Edmund Jacobsen called progressive relaxation not only allows you to realize where tightness is located but over time these spots will diminish and as located start to lessen. There are many mind/body exercises excellent for beginning runners such as ‘soft eyes’, exchanging energy, and others. You can find them on spinorunning.com and this is all a lead in to becoming a mindful running over a period of time. Enjoy and prosper!