If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that most of the time, I don’t think about running, when I am running. I’ve forwarded the proposition that the more reasons you have to run, and the more that you have to think about while running, the easier it is to stick to running. Does it follow then that since I run A LOT, a lot of what I think about is not about running? Possibly.
Some of those thoughts and activities that occupy me or take place on the run include listening to music and audio books, watching television, list-making, photography, shopping, meal-planning and recently, I’ve become adept at checking my Blackberry while running on a treadmill.
However faster running, involving effort, discomfort and pain requires that thoughts be focused on running and it is helpful to develop positive mental strategies to deal with these more challenging physical sensations. At the moment, faster running is about 40 minutes out of the roughly 6-7 hours a week I run. A big part of what motivates me to push past the discomfort and pain is the knowledge of the health benefits of intense running. When you exercise at an intensity over the lactate threshold your body produces Exercise-Induced Growth Hormone Response (EIGR) the effect of which is double the benefit of aerobic exercise.
While running hard, I visually imagine EIGR secretions flowing through my body and soothing my joints. I also think of my heart, pumping vigorously sending blood in strong gushes throughout my circulatory system, massaging and cleansing my arteries. While these images may not be sound biology, you get the picture, it is all about the importance of positive images.
My husband has been having knee trouble for nearly two years. As a joke, I gave him a key chain with a replica of a knee joint. As time passes, I’m thinking that this rattling, fragile looking knee joint may not inspire confidence in recovery and only lends fuel to the argument that the knee joint is poorly designed and engineered. Not the best mindset for visual images of healing and health.
The simple practice described in this quote by Jean Houston strikes me as wise, at the gut level.
“Try to spend a few moments each day holding a picture of your body and your mind in a state of splendid health.”
Hmm, I think this key chain has got to go!