Dumping Bad Emotions through running -- Sprinting vs Road Racing
Anger - and the release of it or other negative emotion - and its relation to running. I was thinking the other day about angry feelings. Ordinary folks in Aurora CO. experienced many emotions upon hearing of the theater shooting. I was reminded of when I heard about 9/11/01. After seeing the first plane hit, I put a flag out and went for a run. I was angry and could not do a damn thing about it except run. Running helped dissipate the "fight" adrenalin. Running faster or longer used up energy that otherwise would have been diverted to emotion,
So, I was thinking about the difference between sprinting (short track events) versus road running. Tactics and speed are essential in track. Concentrated focus is required. Awareness shrinks to your lane and sometimes a competitor just ahead or just behind. And the Finish line. Outside of the 100m (which is just all out from the git go),sprinting involves strategy. There is only time to assess short term tactics -- back off to conserve for a final all out push or try to maintain to the Finish? Go out fast then back off until about 60m from the Finish? Steady sprint at just under anaerobic condition so as not to run out of gas before the Finish? There is no time for error. At the end of a sprint competition or casual meet, you are either flooded with happy endorphins or kicking oneself for a poor strategy or just lack of conditioning. Either way -- your mind has been diverted from any non-racing aspects of life.
Road (or trail) running -- any distance run -- allows for time to think or let the mind drift. Something bothering you? Run it off. You may start out angry or hurt or sad, but as you run on, the act of physical movement is almost lolling in terms of emotion and thought. Your mind may drift or be mesmerized by the scenery. If anger is present at the run start, it will be released. Powerless anger, such as at something you have no control over, will be run out. Emotional upheaval over personal situations will also be run out -- perhaps even a solution found as your mind drifts from thought to thought to no thought. Being out there, just experiencing, is sometimes enough. Bottom line, one almost always feels better at the end of a run (unless you did something silly like trip and bang up something vital!)
There you have it: another reason to run, either fast sprints or more leisurely (and exhausting) long runs. You can be sure a sprinter gasping at the Finish or an ultra runner crossing the Finish has only room for thoughts of the next breath or impending relief from pain.