Running Research

I’ve recently had the opportunity to participate in a Running Research study! One luxury of my job, is being around college and grad students who are doing research projects all the time. I was contacted by a former student of mine who is doing her master’s thesis on endurance runners and how their thoughts might impact their performance. It sounds like quite an interesting study. Given the fact that I am an endurance runner, she asked if I’d be willing to participate. Of course, I said yes! I have always been quite intrigued with the question of what do endurance runners thing about when they run. If you are a runner, I’m sure you’ve been asked this question. I know I have. First thing someone says to me when they find out I’m endurance runner is “wow, I would get so bored running that long. What do you think about?”. And to be honest, I don’t really KNOW what I think about! It is because of this that I decided to participate in the study.

Here’s what I had to do:

On Wednesday, I met with the researcher and she explained the study to me. The study consisted of two parts. The first was a 30 minute treadmill test. I was given a small recorder with a microphone that was hooked to my shirt. All I had to do was run on the treadmill for 30 minutes at a comfortable pace, but the whole time I was running, I had to think OUT LOUD. Basically anything that popped into my head, I had to verbalize. It was a little awkward at first because I felt like I was talking to myself, but toward the end I was feeling pretty comfortable and actually enjoying it!

At the end of the test, the researcher explained to me the next portion of the study. I was to take the recorder home with me, and use it on my next long run. Basically the rules are the same. I am to wear the mic while I’m running, and then everything I think, I must verbalize. I plan to do a 10 miler tomorrow, so I’ll wear the mic then.  At the end of the run, I am to answer a couple questions about how the run went (what my pace was, if I met my goal, how I felt, ect). It sounds pretty fun!

The best part about participating in research is getting a glimpse into what people are studying these days. I’m looking forward to finding out their results. What DO distance runners think about when they run? :) Any of you readers ever thought about it. I encourage you to take note of it on your next run-let me know what you thought about! :) And I’ll let YOU know how my experience goes tomorrow! :)

Happy running! (and thinking)

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