Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Free Help for Your Runs

I've been thinking a lot lately about what helps me get through long runs (and even short ones) and I realized that a lot of it has to do with some of my nonverbal behavior (thank you Communications class).

Many of you might laugh at this post or think it's cheesy but I'm going to go out on a limb. I have found the following things below to be very helpful during long runs, especially when you really want to stop running and quit, and I thought I'd pass the info along.

I'm not talking about smiling at other people or anything (although that helps, too), I'm talking about smiling to yourself during a run. Similar to what I just said in my previous post, simply smiling at yourself can remind you of why you're even running. Why are you? You're running becuase you enjoy it and it's fun. Stop and take a break.

-Make the sign of the cross and thank God for the ability to run
Despite the funny picture above, I'm serious about this one. When I went to the Dormition Monastery last year, one of the Mothers talked about how important it is to make the sign of the cross. She said wherever you are, remember God and cross yourself. Even if you're in school or in public and don't want to physically cross yourself, make the sign with your eyes. This advice really stuck with me.

Furthermore, I always want to thank God for the physical/mental ability to run since so many people are not capable.

Having said all of that, during my long runs (especially when I'm struggling to keep going) I really try to make the sign of the cross and thank God that I'm even able to run. When I've been running for hours and I'm just in a zone, not smiling or thinking of anything helpful, I kind of wake myself up- smile- and then make the sign of the cross. It sounds funny but no one sees you and if others may see you, just do it with your eyes.

It works for me. Try it out.


Brian said...

Interesting. I've wanted to cross myself in public before but felt stupid because I thought people would think I was going through some struggle or something when I'm really just doing it because I'm remembering God. So doing it with the eyes is still a way to physically do it w/o distracting people around you. That's a great idea.

I don't know why, but what has given me strength in doing "longer" runs (that means 7 miles for me) is getting angry. I don't know what it is, maybe the adrenaline, but if I find that I'm struggling, I tell myself "what are you doing? What are you acting like a wimp? You can do this, you've done it before, and if you can't, you're worthless."

Isn't that funny? All the sudden all my pain immediately goes away, I can breathe better, my heart rate actually slows down, and I'm good. Maybe it's the focus it gives me too. I usually do it when I'm distracted and not thinking about my running.

I'll have to try the smiling technique too. Although people will look at me on the treadmill and think "why is that idiot smiling?" LOL

Clara said...

Haha...that's hilarious about the smiling on the treadmill. Didn't think about that.

I LOVE running when I'm mad and frustrated, too. And you're right- I'm sure it's all of the adrenaline that makes you run better/faster. That's interesting that you say your breathing and heart rate slows down...I'd think the opposite.

Your story reminds me of what Chris would do when we used to run long distances together. We'd be running quietly side by side and all of a sudden, I'd hear some mumbling and whispering. I was like "huh?". I look over and see Chris running with his head down- angrily aruging with himself and hitting his fist in his hand. Haha.

It was always awkward for me (Hi Chris) because I wouldn't know what to do. I'd just laugh to myself and act like I didn't hear him.

I think getting mad at yourself and showing it by talking and hitting yourself is a guy thing. I've yet to see a girl running and hitting herself like that.