Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Walker's/Runner's high.

Have you ever done a car trip, like driving home late at night and all of sudden you are home and you don't remember making the trip? That is actually a normal thing, you are not damaged, well some would say anyone who does half and full marathons have a screw loose. What happens is that one half of our brain acts like an auto pilot for tasks that don't require a lot of thought, like endurance walking/running.

This doesn't happen when you are really pushing it but it can when you are just loping along at a comfortable pace. You can go on auto pilot and cover a lot of distance effortlessly. It's like the old saying that making love is better if you turn your brain off and just feel. It's the same with exercise, if your dwelling on things like, "I feel ok now but I've done almost 5 miles so I should be feeling it pretty soon". Pretty soon you will be feeling it because you are expecting to. But when you are on that auto pilot you just cruise.

Ever watch someone knit? Same thing they are not thinking about every stitch, they just go into auto pilot and it flows. That is where we should strive to be when we are doing distance, we need to get into that ZONE where it flows. That's one reason music works so well for distance, if you are listening to a good beat and a song that you get caught up in it makes the motion seem more effortless. Good conversation with a training partner can do the same thing. I have done 10 milers that were just a blur because I was so caught up in the conversation that I never noticed the effort or the surroundings.

One reason the treadmill is so tough for distance work is that you can't easily get into a zone because your mind tries to keep focused on what your doing since you are doing an basically artificial motion, you are not in control the machine is, your brain can't easily tune that out.

Next time you walk/run an LSD, try to turn your mind off. Concentrate on anything besides the effort, experience that high where your motion is effortless.

Thanks for reading.

Walking Panda

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