Our brains and mind conscious and unconscious, is a really complex thing, it can be an enigma or it can feel like you are running in a straight line. Does running allow us to tap into the deepest parts of it or do we just use it to put one foot in front of the other as hard as we can?

Have you ever come to a point in your life where you'll be sitting at home, and all of a sudden, you get this flutter of worry that something isn't quite right? “It’s all in your head” is something often said to dismiss lots of
important things in this case.

The Mind and Body Connection

There is a lot to be said about the mind and body being connected, and when we move our body (In this case with our running), the mind can either run wonders or clear itself. The number of times I have heard people say that they are going for a run to 'clear their head' fascinates me. How does getting out the door and putting one foot in front of the other help clear something happening within our brain?!

There are a few different ways you can connect your mind with your body when you run, whether that be using your mind to figure out how you run, why you run and what you run for. Still, there is also the side of your mind that thinks during your run; some of the thoughts could be about how much you enjoy being out for a run, how much you appreciate hitting that pace you planned to hit for specific sessions and your mental stimulation of what is happening around you.

The Incredible Power of Emotion

Emotion can be the difference between a good and a bad run; if you've had a stressful day and your emotions are running wild, sometimes getting out for that scheduled recovery run can make your evening all the better. On the flip side, you can end up running more miles than you should do because you're chasing that 'release', and that's a potentially dangerous position to put yourself in because you're at risk of injury.

Emotion has a powerful effect on the body. Notice how you feel when you can't sleep from overthinking? Maybe you are nervous before taking an exam, feeling that energy in your stomach?

During stress, the free oxygen radicals increase due to high respiratory oxygen intake and metabolic turnover. Increased energy demand during stress is caused by adverse environmental conditions, which also weaken our immune system.

Kindness, love and good feelings decrease free radicals, so strengthening the immune system makes us feel good. Evidence shows how oxytocin, the “love” hormone, softens and enlarges our heart’s arteries.

Evidence also shows that in relationships with more kindness, love and affection, there is also less hardening of the arteries. Soft on the outside, soft on the inside (and vice versa)… we work both ways.

Our emotions are powerful feelings. They can affect the way that we behave, how we act and, in turn how we approach our running. It's important to be in tune with our emotions, or they can get the better of us!

What is runners high?

Runner’s high is an intense boost of happiness and pleasure following a prolonged exercise period. Sometimes this can come along 5 minutes into a run or 45 minutes. Please don't neglect this amazing feeling when you do feel it on the run. During this experience, some people may also feel a reduction in levels of pain and stress.

The reason for runner’s high is unknown, but an evolutionary theory regarding this experience suggestsTrusted Source that it is a bodily function to increase a person’s chances of survival.

The runner’s high is one of many neurobiological effects of physical exercise (meaning how exercise can change your brain state). It is relatively short-term – it typically wears off a few hours after you finish your run. But that is not a reason to deflate after your run; celebrate that amazing feeling!

Your mind is powerful, and if you can find a way to be in tune with it and apply it to your running, you can become a more mindful and be in tune with your emotions. Your running can be a great tool to help you manage your emotions but don't forget to be very careful in using your running too much.





written by

Marcus Sladden

Digital Marketing Executive from Norwich

Age group: Open

Coach: Self Coached

Strength Training marathon Functional Training 10k half marathon track & field