Training your brain to run faster

IMG_1310Training yourself to run marathons is more than just a matter of training your leg muscles, your heart, and your lungs. You also have to train your brain. It seems that brain-training is the key to unlocking your full running potential. According to a study by C. D. Stevinson and S. J. Biddle, Cognitive orientations in marathon running and “hitting the wall”:

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether runners’ cognitions during a marathon are related to “hitting the wall”. To test a new and more comprehensive system for classifying cognition of marathon runners. METHODS: Non-elite runners (n = 66) completed a questionnaire after finishing the 1996 London marathon. The runners were recruited through the charity SPARKS for whom they were raising money by running in the race. RESULTS: Most runners reported that during the race their thoughts were internally associative, with internally dissociative thoughts being the least prevalent. Runners who “hit the wall” used more internal dissociation than other runners, indicating that it is a hazardous strategy, probably because sensory feedback is blocked. However, internal association was related to an earlier onset of “the wall”, suggesting that too much attention on physical symptoms may magnify them, thereby exaggerating any discomfort. External dissociation was related to a later onset, probably because it may provide a degree of distraction but keeps attention on the race. CONCLUSIONS: “Hitting the wall” for recreational non-elite marathon runners is associated with their thought patterns during the race. In particular, “the wall” is associated with internal dissociation.

All this study is really saying is that if you want to avoid “hitting the wall” and become a better runner, focus on your surroundings when you are running, distract yourself. Looking inward(internal association) and paying very close attention to your level of fatigue, or soreness is not a good running strategy.

As far as I am concerned the same goes for joggling.

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2 responses to “Training your brain to run faster

  1. I think that’s why I can run for so much longer when I’m watching TV on our treadmill than when I’m outside

  2. You walk/run your talk, seem to always be in beautiful places.

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