Running happy as a performance enhancement

Today’s run (street): 3.7 miles

Runners tend to focus on physical methods to improve performance. If you want to run faster, do speed work. If you want to take on steep technical trails, do hill training. There’s no doubt that performance training will yield results. However, there’s an aspect to running performance that has nothing to do with hard physical work. I’m talking about your state of mind on a run.

Many runners talk about how running clears their mind and provides relief from stress. I agree with that, but I also feel that “running while anxious” can compromise performance. This week I’ve dealt with a business issue that has been weighing heavily on my mind. I did feel more energized and optimistic after my anxiety-plagued runs, but the runs themselves were not my best efforts.

This morning my situation resolved itself and the run that followed felt buoyant. I beat this week’s average pace by 15 seconds a mile. I fully believe that my better performance related directly to my mood. As good an experience as that, I felt even better after the run. So I guess the lesson here is to run when you’re happy. If it were only that easy. Maybe Brooks has a point.

3 thoughts on “Running happy as a performance enhancement

  1. Hey, I have to do an 1:45 run tomorrow. I was thinking of doing the Greenbelt trail. Do you know where on the south shore it starts? Also, is it safe to do alone? There hasn't been a Gilgo Beach arrest, after all….

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