Friday, April 22, 2011
In chemical reactions, there is what is known as the "energy of activation." That is the excess of energy it takes to get the reaction started. The energy of activation is more than the energy required for the reaction to continue. Frequently, after getting over the initial hump the reaction will actually produce energy. But it has to get over that hump first.
Why the hell am I talking about chemical reactions? Because KATEINMICHIGAN gave us the challenge of writing about the hardest minute of a workout. I always think about the energy of activation when I start a run because that's what that first minute feels like for me.
When I first start, my body resists. My muscles feel so tight and move so slow and body says "why, why, why, let's go back to the couch!" But I know, if I can just get through that first minute or two, things start to feel like they are going downhill. And downhill, when it comes to running, is a good thing.
I have had so many runs that started with me telling myself that I only had to go 10 minutes then I could stop only to continue on for many times that amount because once I got over that initial hump, I felt great.
There are things that can lower the energy of activation. They can make it a much easier hump to get over. They're called catalysts. In chemistry, a prime example is an enzyme that helps do the work. In running, there are also catalysts. Things that make you burst out of the starting gates. My catalysts are:
A beautiful day after several crappy ones
Some new running apparel or gadget
A new and interesting path
Most days unfortunately don't have a catalyst and I have to trudge over that hump. It never gets easier but it helps to know what's on the other side.