could be good. . .could be bad
Now, yesterday was a different story. For the first time in a LONG time, I let a marketing disagreement really get to me at work and I couldn't get out the door fast enough to run/shake it off. My body was tense, my mind was on fire and anger pretty much took over. Needless to say, I got home to pick up my daughter and paced a hole into my kitchen floor...no, not literally! When I was finally able to hit the pavement, I bolted down the street like a locomotive! I looked down at my MOTO and my pace was a whole minute and a half faster than usual. I couldn't slow down, my face was so tense, and I literally could not relax!
When your stress is so high that your body tenses up, you can actually injure yourself. Depending on what your body can handle, environmental conditions and definitely your mindset. . .the stress can take over, increase your heart rate and push your body right into an injury.
From a Runner's World article published in 2009, in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport reported that triathletes who had to recently deal with a "minor life event" or "hassle" (family, work, health or financial issue) were more prone to injuries than those under less stress. Another study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that elite athletes were more likely to get hurt if they competed while angry, confused, fatigued, tense or depressed.
In order to use running as a stress reliever, there are a few things that you need to consider and have worked for me for nearly 20 years (other than the pacing). First, you have to find a way to calm yourself down before a run. I really believe that when I start to pace, this is the first phase of my body taking over the stress. I usually go over every detail of a disagreement or situation and when it takes over my thoughts, I start to pace. The pacing begins to calm me down and the rational side of my brain starts to kick in.
|Doesn't your watch |
Next, if I hit the road or even the gym I don't take the hardest, hilliest route or pack on the weights in the weight room. I take the flattest course, pack on the lightest weights and hit an area that's open but not overwhelmed with people. This helps take those puzzle pieces and put them in place one by one in my head. Keeping my pace at a comfortable pace helps me take control of those negative thoughts and I start to feel stronger.
Lastly, this is kind of off the subject but chocolate has become my BEST friend on rough days. I use to restrict myself from those little chocolate bites of sin but now, I keep small portions in my desk or purse and splurge from time to time. (Yours could be a cup of Joe, your favorite little candy and hopefully not a bag of chips). Of course, you have to watch what you eat but to treat yourself DURING a stressful situation is OK! Heck, I won't talk about ch'ya!