Sunday, January 6, 2008

don't let your brain fool ya

i read the article i’m not really running, i’m not really running by gina kolata which was published in the NY times on dec. 6 2007.

the story gives an example of an ivy league pole vaulter whose coaches and teammates always noticed that he could jump higher than he was. every time he made a jump he cleared the pole with about a foot to spare. however, if they moved the bar up just a single inch he would hit it every time.

so one day, when the vaulter wasn’t looking, his teammates raised the bar a good six inches & the kid vaulted over the new height, again with a foot to spare. when his teammates confessed about raising the bar, the pole vaulter could not believe he had done it. yet, when he tried jumping that same height now knowing how high it actually was he couldn’t clear it.

the story explains how our brains have the ability to hold us back if we let it; especially when dealing with endurance sports training. the story goes on to talk about zoning out while running & how to push your body to it’s peak even when your brain is telling you to take a break or slow it down.

as i gear up for this year’s ironman this is sound advice & i’ll have to learn to deal with my own brain & recognize when it’s in conflict with my body’s physical ability. of course, pain is an entirely different topic & i’ll need to realize when i’m encountering pain so that i don’t risk pushing so hard that i injure myself.

i often have to remind myself when i’m racing that i am *not* racing the guy or lady next to me, i am actually racing myself.

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