- K. McConnell, R. Psych.
Life and Therapy is a Journey, Not a Sprint
Running therapy is not a new idea. Psychiatrist, Thaddeus Kostrubala MD, first wrote of the psychological benefits and the "runner's high" in his book, "The Joy of Running," in 1976. He was prescriptive in his description of how that psychological benefit needed to be attained: Running at 75% to 80% of your maximum heart rate for 45 minutes or more.
Since getting the word out about Off the Beaten Path, many have joked that they could not imagine trying to talk while running at the same time. Believe me, I understand the hesitancy. In our fast paced society, we are used to the quick fixes, especially when it comes to exercise. You don't have to look hard to find things like 30 min killer abs, Quick HIIT, and other get-fit-fast approaches. Here lies the similarity of therapy and running; there is no quick fix.
Often when people go out for a run, if they are not conditioned to do so, they will exceed their 75% maximum heart rate after running for a short time. Exceeding aerobic threshold, or the point at which you can comfortably chat while running, is taxing. This is why many people do not stick with running long enough for it to become an enjoyable part of their routine. But running therapy can be walking for 45 minutes and running for 5 minutes. It can be running for 20 minutes and sitting at a park bench for the rest of the time. It can be whatever it needs to be.
Just as running for longer periods takes time, so too does therapy. Give it the time it needs, and listen to your body. The journey of self-discovery and growth is life long.