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Here’s how “gratitude miles” can make you a happier, healthier runner

If you’re feeling low on motivation and pounding the pavement has lost its lustre, adding “gratitude miles” to your routine may be the revitalizing refresher you’re looking for. Mark White, founder of the Run Grateful initiative, explains that connecting running to gratitude can heighten your running experience and inspire connections with yourself, others and your surroundings.

“In its simplest form, we invite you to take a moment before you set off on your walk/run and focus on something you are grateful for, a person, a memory an experience,” the Run Grateful website says. Here’s what you need to know to make gratitude running part of your regime.

Run Grateful: the beginnings

“We are on a mission to help everyone experience at least one grateful mile in their lifetime, because we believe it won’t stop at one! If we are fortunate enough to have mobility, we must use it as a superpower,” Run Grateful founder Mark White writes on the initiative’s website.

In 2002, White was attending a drug rehab program and was introduced to gratitude work. “Mindfulness, meditation, gratitude and more was now a valuable part of my life that even influenced those around me,” he explains. Years later, White was supporting a friend in a 24-hour treadmill challenge that involved running one mile per hour. “I decided to attach each mile to gratitude, sharing about uplifting experiences, people in my life and more,” White says. “The day was overwhelming, inspiring and consequently RUN GRATEFUL was born!”

While the Run Grateful initiative offers socials for runners to connect at and seminars on gratitude running, you can easily incorporate their concepts into your training on your own.

3 steps to more mindful running:

While the basics of Run Grateful involve simply focusing on gratitude for any distance—be it a mile, a kilometre or your entire run, they also encourage delving deeper and boosting your gratitude sessions by adding mindfulness to your running. The initiative focuses on three things that can be incorporated into a variety of daily activities. “At Run Grateful we believe that if we can MOVE, CONNECT + REFLECT daily we give ourselves the best opportunity to navigate life, being open to what comes and have a framework to support our next steps,” the website explains.


“Physically and mentally, how are we moving forward in life and have we got the momentum we need to progress?” White asks. Whether your focus of the day is an easy run, a strength training session or a tough mental challenge, make sure it is propelling you toward your goals in some way.


“Are we connecting with ourselves, with others and our surroundings?” White asks. Connecting also involves looking at your relationships and making sure you have healthy, supportive connections. Think about, and appreciate, who and what you are connected to in both your running and your life.


Take a moment to look at your choices, and determine whether you are giving yourself the best possible opportunities in running and in life. Running reflection can be a powerful key to embracing a gratitude practice. “Do we take time to review past events? How can we improve and learn to take that into the next day?” White asks.

Adding some inspiration and zest back into your running routine can be as simple as focusing on the things that bring you joy as you run, and you may feel inspired to make mindful moments a permanent part of your training.

(03/28/2024) Views: 140 ⚡AMP
by Keeley Milne

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