This week, we discuss a collection of studies on the brain-body connection and suggestions for runners.
After that, we share world of running updates about champions around the world and brain research on the relationship between aging and running.
Main Topic: Refine Your Mind
This week, we talk about a number of research on the relationship between the mind and body as well as advice for runners.
The importance of self-regulation
The importance of Self Regulation:
- Researcher Dr. Vana Hutter says that in her research, top level performers and athletes have self regulation. She says, “athletes need self-regulation in order to perform. Everyone can learn, to some extent at least, to control their emotions, thoughts, and actions. And it is this aspect — learning to self-regulate — that is of particular interest to runners.”
- HOW? Dr. Hutter suggests, “You need to actively seek out situations in which you are forced to confront your own thoughts and emotions. That has the most effect.”
- Example, tension causes you to be less efficient
- Two kinds of self regulation
- Self regulated learning
- How to control your emotions, thoughts, and actions
Positive Performance Cascade
What they found: Placebos get a bad rap. We think of them as tricks. But the reality is, we use placebos to enhance performance all the time (Think: the latest supplement, gadget, etc. you are probably taking!). In science, placebos can help us understand how our brain controls and improves performance. In this study, cyclists were given a placebo they were told was a performance enhancer. They were then put through a max cycling test while measuring their brain waves through EEG, and a variety of psychological measures. During the placebo trial, athletes had higher levels of approach motivation (instead of avoidance) and goal-seeking persistence. The EEG showed higher Frontal alpha asymmetry, which is linked to positive affect.
So What? I like to think of this as the positive performance cascade. Our emotions get positive, we start approaching instead of avoiding, our thinking follows suit, and we get on a roll. What studies like these show is that we can influence this cycle. A placebo causes us to think we are getting some benefit, and the cascade follows. Other research on flow and clutch states show similar patterns, where an initial positive spark that tells our mind we are ready to go, puts on the path to experiencing flow. So when you are lining up to compete, think about how your routine, mindset, interactions with others, and maybe even a special uniform or drink that you take purely for placebo reasons, can influence this cascade.
Don’t trust your gut until it’s conditioned
From Magness & Stulberg
- In research on intuition, expertise, and decision-making…
- Found that intuition less experience (expertise) produced bad decisions
- Magness elaborates in context: OCD–gut is poorly wired and needs to be re-taught before it is reliable
- Have to teach someone to oppose their instincts insofar as those instincts are ineffective or counterproductive
- “our results demonstrate the importance of domain expertise in intuitive decision making”
- The key factor: after the development of expertise, intuition becomes more valuable and reliable
WORLD OF RUNNING
World of Running
- At Coast Guard: Dan, Julie, Krystin, and Mark all ran doubles 5k/10k
- Dan was 1st AG in both, Julie was 2nd AG in the 10k (and 4th in the 5k!)
- At the Pewamo Mini Meet, Jacob was 2nd in the 3200m
- Robert ran 10k at the Lake Lansing Team Relay
- XC Team Challenge: Marissa, Andrew, Ben, CJ, and Dan
#1. Other Global Champs
- Regan Yee won the women’s 3,000m steeple in championship record time (expert her at worlds)
- Ben Flanagan won the men’s 5,000m to secure a spot in world champs
- Briana Scott won the women’s 5,000m to secure a spot in worlds after a remarkable season that saw 30 seconds of improvement in her 5,000m and a debut at the world stage
- Brian Fay showed his strong finishing potential to win the 5,000m in a 55-second last lap (recall he ran a new Irish record and the world standard recently)
- 1,500m specialists Andrew Coscoran and Ciara Mageean opted out of their chosen events (Mageean did not participate, Coscoran ran the 800m)
- Especially relevant as these may be medal contenders
- Men’s 1500m, favorite (and national record-holder) Mo Katir lost in a sprint finish
- Adel Mechaal ran a patient race to overtake Katir in the final 100m
- Long history of solid championship performances (including 4th in 2017 worlds, 5th in Tokyo Olympics)
- OAC member Mario Garcia-Romo was left behind in the final 400m to finish 3rd
- Expect all 3 in the world championships, though what events exactly is uncertain
#2. USATF 7 MILE CHAMPIONSHIPS 2023
- Bix 7 in Quad Cities
- Men’s Race
- Frank Lara led early on. All the men went out together in a fairly large group.
- At mile 5 Simbassa pushed the pace and a lead pack formed then
- Clayton Young put a surge on the final downhill passing Simbassa, but Simbassa responded to the challenge in a winning final kick.
- Biya Simbassa won the men’s race
- Clayton Young was runner up
- 3rd was Reid Buchanan
- Championship status: Leonard Korir has 58 points and is in the lead in the USATF Running Circuit, with Jacob Thomson has 43 points and is in second and 7 mile champ, Simbassa is third overall with 36 points.
- Women’s Race
- In contrast the women’s race went out hard.
- Early on, it was a race of four women, Kellyn Taylor, Aliphine Tuliamuk, Ednah Kurgat, and Annie Frisbie.
- It became a two woman race, Taylor vs Tuliamuk.
- Kellyn Taylor won the women’s race, 7 months after giving birth
- Tuliamuk was runner up
- Ednah Kurgat was 3rd
#3. New Brain Research
- STUDY: Running throughout Middle-Age Keeps Old Adult-Born Neurons Wired
- Carmen Vivar, Ben Peterson, Alejandro Pinto, Emma Janke and Henriette van Praag\
- eNeuro 15 May 2023, 10 (5) ENEURO.0084-23.2023; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0084-23.2023
- In simple terms, this abstract is about a study conducted on mice to understand how exercise can affect memory and brain health as they age. The researchers looked at the impact of long-term running on the brain cells that are born during early adulthood and how they connect with other parts of the brain.
- They used two groups of mice: one group that ran regularly and another group that didn’t exercise much. They labeled certain brain cells with a special marker to track them. After six months, they injected a virus into the brain to see which brain cells were directly connected to the labeled cells.
- The results showed that exercise had significant effects on the brain cells born during early adulthood. Running increased the connections from other cells in the hippocampus (a part of the brain important for memory) to these new brain cells. It also prevented the loss of connections from certain areas in the brain that are essential for memory.
- Overall, this study suggests that regular exercise, like running, can have positive effects on brain health and memory, especially as we age. It helps maintain the connections of new brain cells and may protect against age-related memory problems and brain deterioration.