The Role of Self-Belief in Running Performance part 2

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Following on from last week’s post, it was back to the lab again for my second of 4 visits in this research study which is taking place at the University of Kent. After an early start (5.50am) and some pre-run fuel (60g of Flahavan’s porridge oats with 250ml of semi-skimmed milk and a mug of green tea) I was on the road soon after 7am and arrived in Chatham just after 8am. This week I was feeling much better, having got over the worst of the cold that I had managed to contract, although my legs were a little tired from the 10 mile long run that I had put in on the Sunday morning.

This is where the running happens

For this week’s session I was provided with a few preload questions and a list of about 20 adjectives (e.g. excited, tired, scared) which I had to rate on a scale of 1 to 5 prior to completing a 5 minute treadmill run at a predetermined pace of 15km/h. After this first run I was then presented with a list of 5km finish times, which ranged from 21:40 down to around 18 minutes and I had to rate on a scale of 0 to 100% how likely I felt that I could achieve these times. Given that my 5km PB is currently 18:53 I felt that there was little chance of going sub-19, especially as it was on a treadmill and so I was rather conservative with my scoring. For the 5km treadmill run I was in full control of the pace and decided to continue at the 15km/h pace as I knew that if I could maintain this pace then I would finish in 20 minutes.

I felt relatively good for the first kilometre and so asked for the pace to be increased by 0.5km/h. Following each kilometre I was asked to rate my perceived effort (RPE), feeling and pain (as per the picture below). Incidentally, these sheets of paper are stuck onto the back of the picture of the swimmer which can be seen at the front of the treadmill in the picture above. After the 2km mark I was still feeling within myself and again asked for the pace to be increased by another 0.5km/h – now up to 16km/h. I wasn’t feeling any real pain as such, certainly not physically, but I felt that the effort was getting harder and my feeling moving more towards neutral! At the 3km mark I again asked for the pace to be increased by another 0.5km/h and from memory, I kept at this pace and asked for the pace to be increased one last time for the final 400m up to 17km/h. Once the 5km was complete I was presented with my finish time (19:06) and then had to rate on a scale of 1 to 5, those same adjectives that I had done so prior to starting the session. It was interesting to see how my rating for some of the words had changed following the running and goes to show that exercising definitely improves your mood.

How do you feel?

My penultimate visit for this research will be on Monday 6th February as I am racing 15km in the Southern Cross Country Championships at Parliament Hill in London on Saturday afternoon (28th January 2017), after which I shall require a week to rest and recover. I understand that the next two visits will be much the same in that I will be required to complete a set preload prior to running an all out 5km run. This week I asked if my running could be filmed as I am aware that I don’t use my left arm quite as well as my right and so I look forward to seeing the video once this has been uploaded. I shall post my next blog after my penultimate visit so until then, eat, sleep, run, rest/recover, repeat!

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