3 Principles of “Running Meditation”

There’s sitting meditation. There’s walking meditation. But what about running meditation?

Matt Gangloff
5 min readMar 15, 2022


Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

I laced up my running shoes as mortars fell with a soft thud and lit the sky like lightning way off in the distance.

Every night, when I couldn’t sleep, I’d run around our patrol base through the dark of the night, feel the heat radiating off the sand, the dull hum of generators in the distance, and the sweet smell of diesel and sewage.

I’d run through the glow of the buzzing street lights, along the Hesco barriers, and up the ridge that formed the Northern wall, knowing that the risk of snipers was low because it was dark but still non-zero.

And in those moments, right in the middle of a war, I found peace. That’s when I fell in love with running. But it wasn’t until this past summer, ten years later, that I found out why.

Running as Stress Relief

I was in the process of selling my business. And at any moment, the deal could have fallen apart. Every buzz of my phone felt like impending doom. Every text message, before it was opened, was a Schrodinger’s Cat of disaster waiting to happen.

Every morning I’d wake up and go into work. I’d only get a couple hours in before the stress became unbearable. Then, I’d throw on my running shoes and hit the trail.

I’d put in four or five miles and then go back to work, still sweaty, then salty as it dried on my brow. And I’d squeeze out a few more hours, before the stress boiled over again.

And then I’d hit the trail. Some evenings after work, when I couldn’t be trusted to sit alone with my thoughts, ruminating on all the things that could go wrong, I’d hit the trail again.

Yeah, I know. That’s too much.

But running has got me through some of the hardest periods in my life. Had this been a few years earlier, I would have drank my way through it. But it wasn’t just about stress relief. The insight and the clarity I’d get on runs was something I’d only experienced in deep meditation.

And that got me thinking…There’s sitting meditation. That’s the one we’re all familiar with. There’s…



Matt Gangloff

I teach the how-to’s of Post-Traumatic Growth: How to heal and grow, find a new mission, become your best self and build a meaningful life. www.mattgangloff.com