This post was written for and first appeared on One Foot In Reality.
So it is probably time to do a post about something else.
The role of belief in running.
No, not a runner's belief in God, a Higher Power or no belief at all. That is each individual's choice and far beyond what I want to tackle. Yeah, I know the limits on this blog about what I want to talk about and religion is one of those that I stay very far away from.
What I want to write about is much simpler and at the same time pretty damn complex in and of itself.
If I believe, does it work?
Something many people call the Placebo Effect.
or according to others...
In other words if I think, believe or "know" that something I use, eat or drink is going to make me a better runner - does it?
The best answer I can find after a bit of research is - well maybe...
Then again, in my personal experience and for me -- I would be a bit more positive and say...
- If I believe that I will run well in a pair of running shoes, then I WILL run better in them.
- If I believe that I will run like crap in a pair of running shoes that I have lost confidence in or don't like for some reason - I do not run as well in them.
- If I believe that there is a difference in how I run in racing flats versus light-weight trainers or daily trainers, than I will.
- If I believe that when I wear a certain top, shorts, socks, hat that I will do better on a run, than without them - I do.
- If I believe that I will run better wearing compression gear, I do.
- If I believe that when I eat a Chocolate No-Bake Cookie while driving to a race, that I always seem to have a better race.
- If I believe that when I drink Gatorade or some other energy drink during a run that I am going to vomit again or feel like it, I usually do.
I can hear it now from all the nay sayers and scientifically based people out there - prove it. Yeah, I can hear them say it doesn't really work that way and that I am a victim of even more "woo" thinking than usual.
Oh I am sure that if I looked closely enough, that there are probably scientific based reasons that I do better in a particular pair of running shoes, a "lucky" top, compression gear, that chocolate no bake cookie that has lots of carbs in it and that with some runners with a "delicate" stomach the sugars in energy drinks can bother you when are exerting yourself at race levels.
However, for whatever it is worth, I know that:
- I do run and train better in shoes that I am not worrying about or thinking about why I lost confidence in them or even what is going to happen next in those damn shoes.
- I do run faster in racing flats (even when the racing flats weigh about the same as my light-weight trainers or minimalist running shoes), my times validate this.
- I do run faster when I put on my singlet or racing kit, they are more than just another workout outfit.
- I "know" that my body does not feel as beat up after the runs I do wear my compression gear and my times are a "bit" better, than when I don't use them.
- I do run better in races where I remember to eat those chocolate no bake cookies, the effort seems easier and the times are faster.
- I "know" that I cannot drink those sickeningly sweet electrolyte drinks when I am running hard, they bother my stomach and I have puked during races that I have tried to drink them. I have even tried to drink them during training runs, but the same things happen and running is the only sport that these bother me.
Nope, none of those statements have or rely on a very much scientific evidence, value or anything else, they are just statements I am making. In other words, I may not "know" the scientific reason for it, but I do "know" when I have confidence in what I am using, wearing, eating and drinking that I DO run better.
Ain't the human brain a wonderful f*#@ing thing.
The reality is that
Yeah, I know I am pretty weird - what else is new and no I didn't go into a bunch of stuff that I know doesn't work for me just because I believe it will - you know that stuff like: I believe that I can run like I did when I was 25 or that I believe that I can heal most injuries by running through them, etc.
Also ya still gotta still put the miles in and do the work to run well - simply believing that you will run well without doing anything but...well I believe. Actually I "know" that is simply wishful thinking that doesn't work so well from many years of experience. :-)
There is still some reality to my thinking. The blog's name after all is One Foot In Reality, so I am not completely delusional - yet.
So it seems for me at least the answer is:
Absolutely, positively and no doubt about it.
If I believe - it does work for me -- well sometimes :-)