Running: it’s a sport that is probably the most versatile one of all. Just put on a pair of trusty running shoes, and you can run about anywhere: from around your apartment block, the park nearby, the stadium, or even around a reservoir.
According to an article on The Guardian, we have a love-hate relationship with running: on one hand, we want the benefits associated with it, like the endorphins and sleek leg muscles. On the other hand, the pain that comes with it is definitely not welcome.
As such, most of us find a compromise by running on the treadmill in gyms, and watch the TV while we are at it. After all, what is a better distraction than to watch old reruns of Friends and game shows right? However, according to researchers from Nottingham Trent University and the University of Valencia, runners who look directly ahead (like the wall-mounted TVs at the gym or the treadmill screens), as opposed to at the floor, adjust their stride to lift their body and feet higher with each stride.
This is harmful for your body, as not only do you run slower because of all the additional air time, it can also lead to injury, since your knees and ankle joints are used to absorb the extra shock from falling at a greater height.
So what can you do to distract your mind, whilst keeping injuries to a minimal?
1. Use your visual imagination
You can visualize a scene whereby you run across the finish-line, complete with you tearing the ticker tape into two, or a post-run image of you relaxing in the sauna, or having a cold beer at your favourite pub or bar.
2. Listen to podcasts
Some runners opt for playlists that have tracks whose beat rates are similar to their expected stride rate. In addition, you can choose to adjust your incline and speed to make things interesting.
3. Go mental
If you prefer to go technology-free, repeat a mantra mentally, or use mental arithmetic to keep your mind focused, yet diverted at the same time: for instance, you could slice the remaining running time into sections of 5 or 10 seconds, or picking a random number and count it backwards in awkward numbers, such as sevens.
By Nicholas Woo