Gary Dudney: How Mindfulness Can Elevate Your Training, Racing and Life – Fewer DNFs, More Satisfaction and Stress-Free Workouts

December 26, 2018


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Gary Dudney, of Monterey, Calif., has been publishing articles on running, trail running, and ultrarunning for the past 20 years. His is the author of two books, The Tao of Running and The Mindful Runner, both of which you can buy on amazon by clicking the links.

Gary was inspired to write these books from his own running adventures over the past 30+ years. At 66 years old, he’s competed in about 250 ultras and marathons, and nearly 70 100-milers and has learned a lot along the way, including how to elevate his running by focusing on his mental state. In this interview we talk about Gary’s transition into “mindful running” and how it took his ultra career to the next leve with fewer DNFs and more satisfaction that carried over into his daily life. You’ll learn tips on how to incorporate mindfulness into your own running and training, and also how to identify the thoughts that take you further away from a mindful state.


On this interview

  • Gary’s story and how he noticed that once he transitioned to more mindful running he clearly noticed he that had fewer DNFs in races, and deeper more meaningful experiences while running.
  • Being present while running – what are ways that we’re NOT being present while running?
  • Efficiency strategies for dealing with pain and suffering via the mind.
  • The harms of negative self talk – how these thoughts can lead to quitting, slowing down, etc. But positive thoughts can save you and make the experience more enjoyable.
  • When you start feeling fatigue and pain treat it as a positive – it’s natural and indication that you’re running to potential!
  • Why Gary chose a focus on Taoism as compared to other Chinese religions/philosophies such as Buddhism and Confucianism.
  • Story of the three vinegar tasters and takeaways that we can learn from in present day.
  • In that story, the taoist starts thinking “this is the true essence of vinegar” which can be carried over to how we view running even the painful parts.
  • Robert Wright’s book Why Buddhism is True
  • An interview with Wright on Econ Talk, which you can listen to here.
  • The meaning of mindful running.
  • How running breeds the act of mindfulness.
  • If running is already like mindfulness how can we more intentionally practice mindfulness while running or deepen the process?
  • acceptance and letting things go. don’t attach yourself to thoughts and feelings.
  • What to do when thoughts of other things arise.
  • How to still be in tune with your training needs while running mindfully.
  • Stop worrying about finishing times and training more intuitively.
  • Just finishing is the reward and that contributes to longevity in sport.
  • If you’re Type A – stay with how you’re feeling in the moment! Don’t worry so much about what’s down the line today or in the future race.
  • The benefit of focusing on the breath – just as it is.
  • Gary’s relaxation technique – head to toe focus for relaxation to let go of fear and panic.
  • How to use mantras in training and racing; Gary’s go-to mantra:
  • “Infinite patience; steely determination.”
  • Utilize your peers and talk to other runners to bring yourself back to the present.
  • Sense of connection, oneness and the disappearance of self,
  • In his book, Robert Wright describes how the mind is ruled by different modules and there’s no central module. Thus, there is no self; nothing that says “this is me.”
  • There is no self, no separation between you and everything else in the world. It’s all a continuum. How Gary experienced that in a race and what this means in the context of Taoism and Buddhism.

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