‘CALM CON­VER­SA­TIONS’

Runner's World South Africa - - Spring Shoe Buyer's Guide -

When pain sets in dur­ing a hard run, ev­ery­day run­ners may think, “Oh crap, this al­ready hurts, and I’ve got a long way to go.” These emo­tion­ally charged thoughts can have phys­i­cal con­se­quences – like tense mus­cles and an el­e­vated heart rate – that cause di­min­ished per­for­mance. But in­stead of pan­ick­ing, the best run­ners (like the ones that Steve coaches) have in their minds what Steve calls a ‘calm con­ver­sa­tion’, like, This is start­ing to hurt now. It should. I’m run­ning hard. But it’s go­ing to be okay. Be­ing able to sep­a­rate pain from suf­fer­ing in this way also pro­motes re­cov­ery: re­search has found that af­ter hard train­ing, elite ath­letes’ heart-rate vari­abil­ity (HRV) – an in­di­ca­tor of phys­i­o­log­i­cal re­cov­ery – re­turns to base­line far faster than that of the av­er­age joe. This shows that elite ath­letes are able to tran­si­tion from stress to rest bet­ter than their more novice peers.

When doubts oc­cupy your headspace, prac­tise calm con­ver­sa­tions. As your ef­fort and pain lev­els in­crease, don’t try to dis­tract your­self or fight it. In­stead, prac­tise ac­cept­ing it: re­mind your­self that the pain is a sign that you’re do­ing the work that will make you faster. Af­ter hard work­outs, take a few deep breaths and use them as a cue to tran­si­tion from the ‘stress’ of a work­out to a more rest­ful state.

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