ROD 070612


Friday, 06Jul12


Fudge Around Friday

This is a 75 second work / 30 second recovery non-stop for 3 rounds. Go all out on this ROD and earn the 30 second recovery.

  • Reclines (1 sec up / 3 sec down cadence)
  • Rower (this is no rest station, go all out)
  • Alternating Dip & Switch Cleans
  • Weighted Dead-lift Burpees (no Jumps/ men 40#>/ women 25#>)
  • KB Swings


FITNESS; Running: Good for the Soul, Too?

ANY research psychologist worth his Ph. D. must, from time to time, cast a yearning glance at the runners he sees passing in the streets. Surely, runners must be different psychologically from everyone else, prime subjects for a research project that would probe their personalities and inner resources.

To the layman, it seems obvious that runners are different as they pound through the snow, rain, cold and heat, torturing themselves at night and at dawn, dodging traffic and irritable dogs, and measuring their lives in miles per week and running shoes per year.

As a national mania, running is now old enough so that there are middle-aged psychologists who have devoted their professional lives to the issue. But although mountains of data have piled up and computers have crunched numbers far into many nights, no definitive answer has emerged. If anything, sports psychologists are split: some see a psychological difference in runners and believe that running can even change some psychological traits, and some do not.

”Our work would suggest that in terms of personality structure, the long-distance runner, the elite distance runner, seems to have a personality profile that is similar to the non-runner,” said William P. Morgan, professor of physical education and director of the sports psychology laboratory at the University of Wisconsin. ”The myth of the long-distance runner is just that, a myth.”

Last year, Morgan and some colleagues, aided by funds from the Coca-Cola Company, studied a group of women marathoners and found them unremarkable psychologically.

Still, as sports-psychology topics go, the personalities of runners is an enduring one, and other researchers find evidence that runners are different. One of the most recent and largest studies comes from the School of Health at Loma Linda University in California where 231 male runners ranging from world-class marathoners to ”fitness runners” who logged about 20 miles a week were studied. The runners were between 18 and 40 years old.

David C. Nieman and Darren M. George, both marathoners themselves, administered the Cattell Sixteen Personality Factors Questionnaire to the runners. The questionnaire, which consists of 187 items and takes 30 to 40 minutes to complete, is one of the common research tools used by sports psychologists.

The researchers found statistically significant personality differences between the runners and the 30-year-old male population as a whole. The runners were more intelligent, dominant, suspicious, experimenting, self-sufficient and unconventional. They were also more reserved, which is defined as detached or self-involved, and more socially reserved, or reticent and shy.

The Loma Linda researchers noted in their report that some past studies by other researchers who used the same questionnaire did not agree that runners are different psychologically, while other studies supported their findings. So the dichotomy persists.

In their efforts to defend their work about running and personality, sports psychologists turn to an area where there is growing agreement. Years of research has shown that exercise, whether it is running or some other activity, can alter one’s moods.

”I see increasing evidence that physical activity does help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety and stress,” Nieman said.

Morgan echoes that sentiment, saying, ”There is a tendency for runners and all athletes to be less depressed, lower in anxiety and tension.”

Most runners are ready at the crack of a starter’s pistol to talk about how running makes them feel. Terms such as ”happier,” ”more relaxed” or ”less stressed” pour forth. To the non-psychologist, runners have a personality quirk in their obsessive devotion to the activity and the fervor with which they can testify about how it has changed their lives. They pound through the rain, cold and heat because it makes them feel better.

That simplistic answer raises other questions. Do they feel better because the brain releases narcotic-like chemicals during exercise, as some research indicates, or is it related to some effect produced by conditioning the cardiovascular and respiratory systems? Perhaps it is because of both. There are no answers yet.

Four decades ago, when faced with an alarming epidemic of heart disease in the industrialized nations, medical scientists began a massive research effort to explain the causes, an effort that continues. Out of that work has come the belief that those who maintain a proper diet, don’t smoke and keep fit will prevent or lessen heart disease.

If exercise makes people feel better, it is possible that explanations about why they feel better could have equally profound ramifications in coming years.