Quotes - RUN: the mind-body method

"By emotion i understand the affections [changes in state] of the body by which the bodys power of activity is increased or diminished, assisted or checked, together with the ideas of these affections." (Baruch Spinoza)
Consciousness is basically a representation of the state of an organism with respect to both its internal environment and its external environment. (Antonio Damasio) Every thought, including such things as the performance of mathematical calculations, passes through emotional channels within the brain, we cannot think effectively if our emotional faculties are compromised in any way. Often we figure things out emotionally before we figure them out consciously

Many running injuries are partly caused by muscle imbalances by muscle imbalances, most of which develop as consequences of excessive sitting.

Its difficult to imagine that millions of people with different body shapes and sizes and leg lengths and centers of gravity and joint angles could all fit into one single pattern or technique. Rather the passage of time would filter out any flaws for each person. [ie] Individual runners naturally develop the stride pattern that works best for them in the normal course of training... In fact to my knowledge no study has ever demonstrated an improvement in running economy or performance resulting from technique training.... Consciously meddling with your stride may indeed make it less efficient. Research has shown that there is less activity in the brains of skilled performers of all manner of coordinated movements when performing those movements than in the brains of the unskilled... "Executive brain function" costs a lot of energy... Better runners don't have to think as much about running while they run(especially to the limit of speed or endurance), and indeed the very unconsciousness of their running is a major aspect of their superior efficiency... Conscious stride manipulation forces the runner to think about his stride, and as we have seen, thinking is the enemy of movement efficiency... In the real world, the stride improves as the unconscious brain figures out how to sustain desired speeds with less activation of fewer motor units, not by changing where the arms and legs go.

Species living in a stable ecosystem do not evolve rapidly because there is little pressure to evolve...
The most potent stimulus for improvements in running biomechanics is most likely running in a fatigued state... Fatigued running is quality when you have some capacity to resist it.

Goals overwhelm when they are too challenging. The subconcious brain never allows the body to veture too far into unknown territory
During hard running [the brain] monitors the proximity of the various physiological systems to there ultimate limits. As necessary, the brain acts to prevent these limits from being reached by reducing muscle activation and by making the runner feel miserable.

you might expect me to give you a laundry list of pain-coping strategies to use in training and racing but i will not. The only way such techniques work is if you come up with them on your own in the heat of battle.

If it does nothing else, a runner’s training must make him feel prepared, because if he feels prepared he is prepared, and if he doesnt he isnt.

Confidence is not some nonphysical quality snatched from the spiritual dimension and installed in the mind. It is the feeling that arises when the body’s knowledge of itself is in harmony with a person’s dreams.

Following any sensible training plan that adheres to the conventional principles and methods of run training will increase confidence. But what if, instead of following a scripted training plan, the runner asks himself. 'What sorts of training experiences would give me the most confidence about being able to achieve my race goal?'

The surest way for a runner to make the best decisions for improvement is to internalize the intent of building confidence, so that the unconscious reliably supplies hunches about thigs to do to increase confidence and thigs to do to avoid sabotaging confidence.

Only by learning through experience can the individual runner gain proficiency in customizing the approach to training.

Establishing the optimal training cycle duration is an aptitude that improves with experience.

This sort of calculation works best when you are able to accurately judge how close you are to peak fitness in terms of training time. In the end the best you can do is commit to a schedule that seems sensible and make adjustments as you go.

A few planned peak workouts and one peak training week are easy to remember. As with the standard weekly training schedule, there is no need to write them down.

It is somehing that i let happen instead of something i do. Its more like growing a beard than chopping wood.

You can intentionally delay a peak when necassary to avoid overtraining, however, by holding yourself back in your workouts until you reah a point where you can ramp up steadily without a high risk of burnout. Its always easier to slow the pace of your ramp up to prevent burnout than to accelerate it to hasten a peak that seems too slow in coming.


The only reason a nervous system even exists at all in any animal is to enable movement. There is a very primitive species of sea creature with a very primitive nervous system; the creature swims around a bit in the first part of its life and then plants itself and remains stationary for the second part of its life. And as soon as the self-implantation occurs, the creature devours its own brain.

To find out what shape your in go for a run. At the end of the run you will get an idea of how mich more training you can handle and how much more training you need. - me

... Jazz is not entirely freeform. Improvisation takes place within a few basic parameters, such as a tempo, a key, and a refrain (or a core melody). Without such perameters, the music is so chaotic that it is not even music. Improvisational training requires a similar minimal structure.

Enjoyment and suffering are not mutually exclusive.

Running hard is one of my most treasured experiences in life—especially when I’m not doing it!

- Posted from the Road