Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Tell Me I’m Great And I’ll Run a Marathon For You

Recently I’ve been feeling a bit down. I’m not entirely sure why. It might be post-race blues (having just met my target for a half-marathon), maybe it is just this winter weather that just seems to be never ending. Whatever the cause the end result is I have found it hard to motivate myself to train and when I have been running I’ve been slower than usual and find I’m getting tired more quickly.

Knowing I’ve been a little down my wife texted me yesterday saying “I love ur running. It is actually v inspirational”.  

It might sound silly but knowing that something I do is “inspirational” is quite a compliment and an ego boost. I think we all want to be admired, especially when it’s by someone you love and respect.

So this morning as I laced up my running shoes I was still thinking about the text. I had in my mind I would run 13 miles which is two circuits of my normal running route. After one circuit I was tired and not feeling particularly motivated and I was going to call it a day and run home.

Then I thought about the text. I want to be inspirational and with that in my mind I pushed on and did the second lap. Not only did I do the second lap I completed the 13miles in 1 hour 28 minutes (a great time for me to complete a half marathon in – especially as there are a number of hills).

I think my ability to run the second lap, and to do it in a good time, is all due to yesterday’s text and the act of being praised. According to a recent study conducted at Imperial College London praise seems to increase testosterone levels. And the increased testosterone increases all manner of sporting abilities - including running.

The other thing about praise, and at first this might seem obvious, praise makes you feel better about yourself. Or to put it more scientifically; praise increases dopamine levels. Dopamine can act as the body’s own natural pain killer and when you are running a long distance and start to feel the burn every drop of dopamine helps.

So give me a little praise and I’ll run an extra lap. Tell me I’m great and I’ll run an entire marathon for you. 

(The picture today is of the the split times of the last 4kms of my run as the dopamine and testosterone were most needed)

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