I am coming off a rush of a weekend; Coach MK and I were both able to attend the Lydiard Training Coaching Clinic in Boulder. Think 2.5 days of complete running immersion. We spent most of the time learning the principles and structure of Lydiard Training—Arthur Lydiard was a revolutionary Kiwi coach that brought the idea base training, jogging, periodization, and a bunch of other hallmarks of today's training to the masses and Olympians—but we had plenty of time for unique running drills and great stories both from Lorraine Moller,1992 Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon, and Nobby Hashizume, a protege of Lydiard and an encyclopedia of running knowledge.
It's going to take my brain a little while to digest everything we learned and share it with of you, but in the meantime, I want to put this tidbit into the Internets. Lorraine is a very spiritual person, and has strong beliefs in both the universe and the mind/body connection. (If you want insight into her fantastic mind and career, which spanned from age 14 to 41 and over four Olympics, check out On the Wings of Mercury, her autobiography.)
When we started talking about recovering and injuries—recovery is a huge part of the Lydiard philosophy—Lorraine did a demonstration. She brought up a clinic participant who had a slight discrepancy in leg length. She marked his feet alignment, then had him repeat this:
I, ____________________ (insert name here), choose to adopt for my whole body the physical structure that my subconscious desires for optimal health, vitality, and performance. I'm adopting this right now.
I kid you not; His alignment balanced out. She had him unalign via words, and he was as he began. She got him back to balance, and then had us try it on ourselves.
I partnered with MK, and her left leg seemed a titch shorter than her right. She went through the above speech, and her legs were suddenly exactly the same.
How did Lorraine explain this? Surprisingly simply. "We carry our stories in our bodies subconsciously," she explained, "And when some point is tight, we need to allow it to release. Your body doesn't know the difference between your subconscious mind and your conscious mind. So if you say out loud that you are going to align optimally, your body pays attention."
Then she shared a story about an Ironman who went from nearly having surgery on an intense injury to winning Ironman Canada in a week. His treatment? Talking through his injury and his past with Lorraine, who helped him achieve optimal alignment.
I realize it may sound flat and/or bizarre on this post. I get that. But then Lorraine brought it back to everyday #motherrunner life by mentioning everything we take with us on runs: a fight with our partner, our kids' behavior, our frustration at carrying 15 more pounds than we'd like, a sick parent, whatever. I don't think many would deny that truly tote all of that—and more—around in our muscles.
Yes, we feel lighter and released after a run, but whether we're talking mantras or meditation, the mind-body connection in running and life is undeniable.
She suggested taking a minute to start each run with an optimal health proclamation. It doesn't have to be word for word, but saying something along the lines, of, "I [#motherrunner] am going to lock in the optimal physical structure so I can have the workout I desire," feels right to me. Do it enough times, and it becomes a habit that gives your body and mind the cues that you're about to run exactly the way you want to. Gotta say, I think that tool would come in handy when you're all nerves and anxiety, standing on a starting line.