Today I’m giving you some ways to fix up rage so you can run with greater ease and turn your body into a healing machine when you sleep.
Runners know they have to run. Many runners are what non-runners would call high strung; full of energy; turned up. Some times this high strung energy gets a button pushed and a rage comes out. Some runners don’t really feel relaxed or at ease until they have run for the day; some run twice a day; some run very long distances or hard paced runs in order to relax. There can be a nervous energy to a runner.
Runners in general have been known to drink more alcohol than non-runners. I’ve had numerous runners who report having insomnia on a regular basis. As a runner you may feel you need running to relax.
Here’s what I see that is going on. The rage part of the brain; the limbic system, is the reflexive part of the brain that protects us when we’re under attack. It raises adrenaline fast and gets us into a fight or flight mode. It’s instantaneous. It’s like when the lion gets shot but not killed. It rages. At that point you can’t reason with the lion; “sorry man I didn’t mean to shoot you”. No; at that point, rage kicks in and a full on attack happens. The lion’s limbic or rage part of the brain is working and nothing else matters.
It’s a great system to have online when you’re being attacked. But if you’re running this system all day long and even all night long, your body’s stress hormones kick in. Trouble is you can’t keep this up without the body breaking down at some point; injuries, sickness, worse…
So, as a runner, it’s great to blow some off by running. But, it doesn’t really stop the overall limbic system from working and the healing systems of the body to not work.
This matters because, while you can go years on limbic rage energy and run long races and long workouts, there may be a payback down the road. Do you want to run your whole life?
If so, then you might consider shifting this pattern so you can heal when you sleep and rest. There is a way to run without always having the rage or limbic energy turned on. You actually can have better performance because you’re going hard when it’s training time and you’re resting fully when it’s non-running time.
Here’s how to do it. There is a simple exercise that works to drain the limbic energy from your body. And it helps you sleep too. So if you have insomnia, you might want to try it and see what you notice in your sleep patterns.
It works anytime and can be done as you first go to bed to sleep. Place your fingers so that you grasp the bridge of your nose gently with all five finger tips. *
Hold that position and with the other hand, place your hand (it can be the back of your hand) on the small of your lower back.
Hold it for 20 minutes without letting go. You can do this lying on your side at night or propped up with pillows when sitting. Hold the position without letting go for 20 minutes and notice how relaxed you get.
Repeat this position many times over the next few weeks and notice how you feel.
As a runner you’ve made the commitment to train. You’re interested in how to stay healthy or get healthy as a runner. You know there is a way to heal and run in a healthy way.
If you thought this exercise was helpful, you might be interested in other self-treatment techniques and healing. Sign up for our newsletters above by entering your name and email for other cool stuff, I’ve found that works so you can heal and get on with running and life.
And email me if you have any questions about this or any other concerns or questions about your running, and fixing up your injuries.
let me know what you notice with this exercise,
Ralph Havens firstname.lastname@example.org 619.840.9755
Ralph Havens Physical Therapy, Bellingham, WA and worldwide via Phone and Skype Sessions.