Today’s run (treadmill): 3.2 miles
When people talk about sources of energy for running, it’s usually framed in terms of nutrition or rest. Supplements like gels can give you incremental energy while on a run. A good night’s sleep can take away built up fatigue and tension. A far less considered (but equally effective) source of energy is anger and frustration. Case in point, today.
Although it’s Martin Luther King day and my kids are off from school, not every business observes this holiday. This is especially true for those based outside of the US. Because of this, I needed to field a few calls, one of which generated a lot of frustration at my end. As I worked to address and resolve the issue, the level of stress built to a point where I needed to take a break.
Today is my usual rest day, but I have a big day tomorrow that starts very early. So early in fact, that I won’t have an opportunity to run in the morning. Swapping my rest day made sense and the timing seemed right. Although the skies were clear and the temperatures weren’t too bad, I didn’t want to deal with gearing up for an outside run. Instead, I quickly changed into indoor workout clothes and hopped on the treadmill.
I had just come off two hard running days so my plan was to run at a more moderate pace today. Just hard enough to get my heart rate up, but not to the point where I could further stress my body. I found myself thinking about my last call and the result was faster stepping. This caused my foot to land frequently on the kick plate in front of the tread. In response to that, I incremented the treadmill’s speed until this stopped happening.
The good news was that my frustration got channeled into a quick source of energy. The bad news was that all the hard running quickly drained this energy. The faster pace became increasingly difficult to sustain. I ended up backing down to my original speed but returned to the faster pace for the last quarter mile.
It turned out to be a harder workout than I would have tried under normal circumstances. The residual effect was a significant reduction in my level of stress. I returned to my business problem and satisfied the issue, at least for now. The frustration fueled a higher intensity run and the workout took the edge off my frustration. I don’t want to depend on (or even invite) stress as a source of energy. But when frustration happens, I’m glad to have running to to manage that stress.