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Sound Mind, Sound Body

It was my 8th week in a community running program.  The snow started to fall half way through the short distance run. We had just turned down our last street to the finish when the snow started coming down fast.  I stepped off the curb when I felt a slick piece of ice under the new fallen snow.  My ankle buckled and as I fell to the ground, and heard the three cracks, I knew that my new running career was ending.

I remember lying there weeping quietly not just because I felt physical pain but because a cloud of disappointment engulfed me.  I had wanted to learn to run so bad.

I had made the decision a few months prior that it was time for me to get off the couch and get active if I was to avoid living in a nursing home too young in life.  There is enough documentation that demonstrates the value of a few tough exercises each week to get the heart pumping and some weight bearing activities to help you feel fit and fabulous.  I was not doing any of this and was feeling fat and floppy.

After the fall I was back on the couch and feeling very sorry for myself.  After 4 months of rehab and soothing words from excellent health care providers and a loving husband I went online to look up the next running clinic.  That is when I saw it –  “triathlon training” and signed up immediately. I couldn’t swim, I didn’t own a bike and well you know my running history.  But a peace came over me when I thought that I would learn 3 sports instead of just one. It seemed to better my odds somehow of staying active in at least one sport.

3 years ago I completed my first triathlon.  I came in last and felt sick for two days…but I did it.   And I plan to continue doing at least one every year until my body no longer can.

I have done some research on how music can help me through my training.  Here is some of what I have discovered.  I hope it is useful to  help you develop your own training program this spring.

MUSIC AND IMPROVED SPORTS PERFORMANCE

“For those that exercise, music is a way to distract oneself from the physical activity they are enduring and to try to lessen their consciousness of fatigue.  However recent studies have seen that music has a much greater effect than just providing a distraction. Studies conducted by sports psychologists have determined that music has a great impact on the performance level of an athlete. It has been suggested that the correct type of music can heighten an athlete’s performance by up to twenty percent.  A sports psychologist at Brunel University, Dr. Costas Karageorghis, has done studies to see the results of synchronous music and asynchronous music.  Synchronous music, music that has a clear and steady beat, was what was shown to elevate a person’s performance by twenty percent whereas asynchronous music, background music, was shown to calm the nerves of athletes by as much as ten percent.” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article581004.ece

But the MOST important thing I have learned about music – that regardless of the tempo it is:

MUSIC THAT INSPIRES YOU = IMPROVED MOTIVATION

Riding a bike really did come back to me quite quickly and thanks to good coaching my legs have gotten stronger.  Swimming has become a very relaxing, mediative sport that has been a gift for my well-being.  Running continues to be the toughest part.  Still a beginner, I find that fast paced music triggers an impulse in me to run faster leading to feelings of early onset fatigue and overall dissatisfaction with my run.  It is when I select preferred, moderate, inspirational music that I feel I can continue for a much longer time and feel positive at the end.

I encourage each of you to try different musical preferences until you find the perfect partner to help your performance.

PS.  Keep in mind that when jogging alone it is best NOT to use earbuds/headphones in order to stay aware of your environment…and keep safe.

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