Yes, you did read correctly. I am including sitting on my bum as part of my training for the UTA22, (22km trail run in the Blue Mountains). You can see my 10 week training plan here.
My number one focus in training for the UTA 22km run on May 18th is to not exhaust myself. Sounds like a bit of a contradiction when you’re talking about running a half trail marathon, but let me explain. For most of last year I felt exhausted to the point of delirium. Most mothers would be able to relate to this feeling. It’s not just the physical exhaustion, but the mental and emotional fatigue, which turns into deranged, irrational malfunctioning brain with emotions that roll from one extreme to the other within minutes, that hurt the most. It’s not a pleasant state to be in or for anyone to be around and hence, my primary motivation is to stay ‘un-exhausted’ while I train for this trail run.
So the training begins and like any good plan, things never go to plan. Accomodating the “Frankie Factor” means everything has to be flexible, and with Frankie coming down with a gastro bug, then passing it on to me, I’ve done less running than I was doing before I started "training”. But the thing I have maintained is my sitting on my bum..…ie. my meditation. Studies show that meditation can significantly increase your secretory IgA, your big immune response to fight viruses, bacteria and toxins. It can also decrease cortisol levels and improve both brain coherence and heart coherence, meaning, it’s easier to maintain elevated states of emotion (happiness, joy, gratitude), and to maintain focus, accessing the logical decision making parts of your brain with ease. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it!
I can hear your question though. What’s that got to do with running? Nothing and everything. Nothing directly in terms of, if I didn’t meditate, could I still get through the run? Yes, absolutely. And everything because it’s helping me achieve my goal of not getting exhausted. Put simply, the meditation helps to turn on the relaxation response in the body and hence, up-regulate overall recovery and healing. Our bodies need this constant recovery and healing every day to fight off viruses and bacteria that are everywhere in us and around us. Add in a bit of extra stress from the environment in terms of toxins, from food in terms of pesticides and chemicals, from work in terms of deadlines and workload, from family in terms of demanding your time and energy……..and from running in terms of extra load on muscles/ligaments/tendons, then the requirement to switch on this relaxation response is huge.
My sitting on my bum sessions can be anything from 20 minutes to an hour and 20 minutes, depending on the #frankiefactor, and it can be anything from sitting still and breathing, to listening to guided practices of retraining subconscious thought processes. Just like my running training, I mix it up, some days there are hills in the tranquil bush, some days it’s stairs carrying child in backpack and other days it’s flat runs on the road. Every session has it’s purpose and mixing it up keeps different parts of the brain/body firing and wiring.
I am looking forward to getting back into a bit of running towards the end of this week and I will keep some updates happening on insta and facebook. Hopefully I can stick to the plan from here, and fingers crossed get to both the start and the finish line of the run!