Actually, I have a slightly different take on this.
For about 10 - 15 years I have been struggling with some un-diagnosed illness, which appears to be auto(?)inflammatory in nature. Running has been absolutely centre stage in the comeback (aided by change of diet, anti-inflams, chinese herbs, and a whole lot of alternatives and physio stuff) from being unable to walk without sticks to being able to run (albeit v.v.v. slowly) marathons. The illness, if that is what it is, is clearly exacerbated by stress. I get wiped out extremely easily. All my attempts to return to lecturing for example, have left me unable to walk again. The role of running in all this seems to be complicated. Leaving aside the morale factor (which is definitely a huge factor) the effect of running is complicated - serving at the same time to destress (as a vent for internal anger) and as a highly controllable stressor. The optimal pattern in using running as a means of, say, being able to return to work, seems to be the following. Book a block of time to run following a day/morning whatever of work. Book time flat on back to rest. Without the rest, the running only exacerbates the bad effects of work related stress. With it, it is possible to work without stress building up over a period, which, in my case, ends up in relapse. The nice thing about running as a stressor is that you can control it, by having hard or easy runs, and it does seem to build up some degree of stamina which is transferable to stressful situations. The evidence is that for me at least, running without the rest to match is pretty destructive. This is probably not what you wanted to hear, but if you are working in this field, I would be interested to talking to people who are working with recovery programmes for those with similar low-grade inflammatory illness (M.E. and the like). I think I have learned a lot.
Posted: 09/02/2006 at 16:55