Saturday, December 29, 2007

December News

The New York Times published two interesting articles on running and exercising this month.

The first one talks about a new study that shows that "The risk of dying on a marathon course is twice as high if you drive it than if you run it..." I promptly forwarded the story to my mother, who is constantly worried about my "obsessive" running. The researcher began the study "...out of annoyance with the enormous attention given to each death in a marathon — often even greater, he added, than the attention paid to the winner." Very true.

The second story talks about a mental technique many athletes use called "dissociation." The article says that "No matter how high you jump, how fast you run or swim, how powerfully you row, you can do better. But sometimes your mind gets in the way." In order to overcome the mind-block, some athletes learned a technique from Tibetan monks who "...reportedly ran 300 miles in 30 hours, an average pace of six minutes a mile [!!!]. Their mental trick was to fixate on a distant object, like a mountain peak, and put their breathing in synchrony with their locomotion. Every time a foot hit the ground they would also repeat a mantra." It turns out that most professional athletes use dissociation, even if they don't know it. For example, Paula Radcliffe counts 300 steps (which for her, make a mile). Similarly, some of us in the running group use a metronome. On each bip one foot hits the ground.

This is probably my last blog of 2007. One of my 2008 resolutions is to post a monthly blog covering noteworthy running and exercising news and articles, hope you enjoy them!

Happy New Year!

1 comment:

Balto said...

"Not one world class runner used a strategy to dissociate or distract himself from the pain... An explanation for all this, which appeals to runners, is that the imperatives of racing well call for a certain degree of attention to pace, form, tactics, level of fatigue, and liquid intake. Anything, including self-deception, that distracts a runner from the task at hand will be a detriment to performance... Rather than distract themselves, the best runners learn to listen."
- Kenny Moore, "Muscle and Blood" in
Best Efforts: World Class Runners and Races
Cedarwinds Publ., 1982, pp. 70-71