Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What Do You Think About When You Run?

I read an interesting article in Runner's World this week. It's called "Train Your Brain: Knowing how you think on the run can improve your workouts - and your mood." It talks about how most people (excluding elite runners who focus on form and breathing) do a lot of varying thinking when on a run. No big news here. It's pretty common knowledge that running is great for thinking and problem solving.

The interesting thing is that they grouped the thoughts into four categories and provided tips for how to avoid negative impacts from your thoughts. Here are the categories and what to watch out for:
  1. Organizing - if you start feeling tense, think about something else.
  2. Problem-solving - no negatives here... My favorite!
  3. Wandering - Don't stay in "la-la land" for the whole run.
  4. Pondering - Don't let anger or anxiety consume you.

My brain activity usually goes something like... "OK. 1 mile warm-up. Hmmm, what's on my todo list today? Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm... Increase speed. I really need to talk to X about Y. Interval time! Woah - that's fast. Wonder if my knee will hold up? Am I running at the optimal stride? Slowing down... Whew - I need some water. Gulp, gulp, gulp. I need to remember to book travel for Z meeting. And get a sitter. (this repeats for the rest of the interval training) Cooldown! Yes. Blog idea, blog idea, blog idea... Decrease speed. That felt good. Time to stretch."

Running is cool.

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