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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For most of this year and including the morning of Shamrock even, during hard runs I was experiencing some cognitive anxiety related to a situation that adds considerable pressure and stress and worry to my overall life. When I'd run hard, thoughts about it would bombard me. Sometimes I could fight through and overcome by focusing on my breath or replacing negative thoughts with positive ones or just hydrating even, but more time than not it negatively affected my running.<br><br>
After my break, I'm finding it's back, maybe even worse. Even on "easier" runs like I've been doing I am battling the stress and worry monster.<br><br>
I don't believe in ignoring problems; I just don't want this one to negatively affect the thing (running) that usually picks me up the most and used to be a solace from them! And I don't want to dread hard runs. I love training hard and need to to accomplish my running goals.<br><br>
Obviously I need to sort some things out personally -- no one but me can do that, but in the meantime, has anyone out there dealt with this sort of thing specifc to running, and if so, what worked for you?<br><br>
Forgive me if I am divulging too much personal gunk on you all, 'k?
 

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Not too personal for me, SGH. I know I used to use my runs to think about relationship problems I had with an ex-BF years ago. After a while, I kind of associated the runs with the worsening relationship and it was a bad cycle. (And for me, breaking it meant stopping running for a while, getting out of the relationship, cutting my hair and getting a new car. I don't recommend that!)<br><br>
It's only natural to work things out when running. I get my best business ideas and work on problems during that time. Maybe you can write out a list of the things you DO want to focus on while running? Or think about those stressful topics at other times in the day, to clear it out of your mind on the run. Or maybe find a buddy to chat with for the long runs? Or there's always music to relax your mind. I do think you're going to have to work at severing this connection b/w the topic you don't want to focus on and your long runs.<br><br>
good luck with this!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ack! I do not want a haircut & can't afford a new car! <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif"><br><br>
Thanks for the good suggestions, dev, I will try them starting next run. I don't like to bother people with my problems generally and really have no one here to talk to about this, which doesn't help. The usual person I confide in, my mom, is oveseas and not reachable by phone.<br><br>
Usually I get great teaching ideas while running so will try to focus on that.<br><br>
Journaling really helps clear my mind but funny I never "remember" to do it often enough.
 

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Journaling beforehand is a great idea. Fortunately with fewer classes this summer, you have more time (I think) to work on positive changes.<br><br>
Oh, speaking of positive changes. I learned positive self-actualization (I think that's what coach called it) during my springboard diving days (YEARS ago). Get up on the board, see yourself executing the dive, then will your body to execute that though automatically. When I get too dragged down into a run, I picture myself at a landmark ahead (but not too far ahead), turning the corner or passing that point or whatever. Then when I get there, I'll picture myself at the next landmark, even closer to the end. Maybe this can help to pull you out when your thoughts are pulling you down?
 

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hmmmm. not sure how to answer that. Sometimes when i am running i am overwhelmed by thoughts, especially when there was a lot of turmoil in my life. Sometimes i even cried back then. I have always found that during those runs i would think things through and work a lot of emotions out. I have never had anxiety associated with it and most of the emotions were quickly fleeting.<br><br>
I have seen snakes on the trails and that throws me into a complete panic, but that is about as close as i get! lol. Maybe you need to run more! since you have had a lay off, all those things that usually would have worked out mentally over that time are all piled up waiting and now that you are running again, you need to catch up <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's more on any average training run. Today I kept the pace slightly easier and focused more on staying relaxed. There were still a few tough spots, but it's been much worse. I've been journaling and "thinking" through things more this week, too.<br><br>
Sometimes I wonder if high-intensity cardio can provoke anxiety responses because of the similar physiology -- increased heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, etc.
 

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When I go into introspective mental states while running, I usually feel that they are productive. I don't need to read between the lines much to guess that these episodes are NOT productive for you, SGH.<br><br>
However, for the last few years I've often gotten into a very similar state when I try to sleep at night. It usually starts at about 2:00 AM and pretty much makes the rest of the night worthless for sleep. Mucho Anxiety!!!<br><br>
I concluded that the issues in my life were not the problem. When I managed to remove most of the stressors in my life (once, not for long) I had nighttime anxiety attacks about what I would eat for breakfast! No fooling! This made me conclude it was "structural" a chemical imbalance or something.<br><br>
I was just about to go to the doctor for a fix when I found one. If there is talk radio in the background that is very very quiet - almost too low to hear- my mind gets distracted trying to "listen" and I can sleep. Somehow the anxiety thoughts get distracted by the voices. Yup, I'm mentally unbalanced and hear voices in my head... the BBC World Service <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br>
I don't know if this helps any, just some correspondence to stuff I've lived through.<br><br>
{{SGH}}
 

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First: {{{SGH}}}<br><br>
Second: I think that some level of anxiety is natural SGH when you are coming back from injury, especially one that put you out as long as this one did.<br><br>
Third: I too have had bouts with anxiety during long runs, especially when I see the HRM numbers start climbing. There was one point last summer where I was convinced that if I saw 160 on the HRM during a long run that I was going to bonk and do the walk of shame to get home.<br><br>
Eventually I got to the point where I realized that 160 wasn't a problem.<br><br>
Also, something that helped me was reading <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=kickrunners-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FNew-Toughness-Training-Sports-Psychologists%2Fdp%2F0452269989%2Fref%3Dpd_bbs_sr_1%2F103-6457674-2238256%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks%26qid%3D1179534885%26sr%3D8-1" target="_blank">The New Toughness Training For Sports</a><br><br>
It was a quick, easy read, but it showed me some things. Check for it at your local library.<br><br>
Finally: You don't need me to tell you this SGH, you <b>are</b> a very good runner. Get out there and just relax. You're going to be fine. And what's the worst that can happen if you bonk or something? Big deal, better on a training run than during a race! <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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sgh- I've dealt with depression and anxiety off and of over the last 12 years or so. I remember learning that increased hr and such associated with hard training can exacerbate feelings of anxiety. So your instincts are correct.
 

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I don't normally have that difficulty during runs but I do in other areas in my life. What I found works with the journalling the best is do it as soon as you wake up in the morning, before your internal censor and judger wakes up. Just barf out whatever's on your mind, even if it's a stream of consciousness thing that makes no sense. Often I find a lot of relief in leaving it all on the paper and then I can go on with my day. I think if you run in the AM this might help.<br><br>
Another thing it might be is some unresolved anxiety about being back on the roads after an injury. Like, can I still perform, will I get benched again, etc....I went through that when I first started back running and it kept me off the roads for a while. It was awful, and I still struggle with that sometimes. With you, maybe it's subconscious.....? Could that be the root and it's manifesting itself in the form of what you are consciously worrying about anyway? Just thinking out loud here, you obviously know yourself better than I do. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the feedback and ideas, all.<br><br>
drgenie -- I suppose there could be some nervousness coming back from injury that I'm not acknowledging, but honestly, I was dealing with this problem before the injury too (in fact when I review race day I believe it could be a contributing factor to it).<br><br>
Hippo -- interesting that the BBC works for you. That's exactly what helps my dad sleep at night, too. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br>
EQ -- I am not anxious about the particular run itself, more about personal life stuff. Thanks for the book suggestion!<br><br>
jebba -- thanks for confirming that. Did you recall any advice on how to handle the phsysiology triggering cognitive anxiety responses?<br><br>
muzicgrl -- it happens with music or w/o, with running buddies or w/o. <img alt="sad.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/sad.gif"><br><br>
I do have a strong family history of anxiety & depression and don't feel like I've ever struggled with either more than mild situationally-intermittent, but it's obviously something to keep an eye on knowing my background.
 

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sgh, sadly, the only thing I remember about strategies were trying to get rid of the root of the anxiety itself, and working out at less intensity. Taking it easy might be a good short term solution, but not a very satisfactory long term solution.
 

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when my anxiety starts building during a run I try to focus on my rhythm and something in particular around me - a cloud or something in the distance.<br><br>
Sometimes I will pray a couple of decades of the Rosary or a call-response type prayer.<br><br>
That bit of mental focus is usually enough to keep a panic attack away and can lead to a much better frame of mind for me.
 

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{{sgh}}<br><br>
I cannot offer any profound thoughts of wisdom, since I battle the WTPJ demons with every attempt to plod outside during daylight hours.<br><br>
...just wanted to give you a virtual hug....
 
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