If you are familiar with news in the running world you might know that Eliud Kipchonge recently joined a small group of men in a project by Nike to break the 2 hour marathon record. Not only was that an insane goal, but the craziest part is that in most of the race photos, Kipchonge is actually smiling! While it may look like he is out for a leisurely few miles, smiling is actually a psychological technique he incorporated to deal with the physical demand of running over 26 miles in 4:34 per mile pace.
A study from the Sports Journal of Psychology recently reviewed such psychological tactics and measured their effects on athletic performance. For the study, 24 runners completed four 6 minute runs to measure their running economy ( a metric that measures oxygen efficiency based on aerobic output). During each of the four tests, runners were asked to run with a smile, frown, relaxed hands and upper body, or to think usual running thoughts. The outcome of the study showed that the ‘smile run’ was up to 2% more efficient than all of the other trails.
So, what does this mean for your kiddos? A periodic period of smiling while performing a difficult task can help to ease the psychological burden of the task at hand. It might be all ‘mind game’ but it can certainly help make a difficult task (or HKRS race!!) more tolerable and even increase the fun factor!
For more in-depth info and for a full article about this study, click on this link!
And don’t forget to SMILE 🙂