On Extroversion, Introversion, Running, and Racing

Raymond, a running friend of mine who is also a competitive triathlete is in 6 races over the next 16 days. In contrast I’ve got 6 races scheduled for my entire year! Last year I competed in 8 races and succumbed to the pressures of mental burnout as a result. So how does Raymond do it? Half-jokingly he muses about the incentive of the finisher’s medal. But more seriously he feels that being surrounded by athletes helps inspire him and so the mentally draining effects of such a high impact race schedule are mitigated for him by such lofty company.

Which got me to wonder. How much of this is a matter of extroversion vs introversion? Whereas extroverts thrive when surrounded by others, introverts like me recharge their psychological batteries by having time alone. The solitude of a  3 hour run can be paradise for me. Whereas the clamour of a race and the throngs of people therein are definitely more suitable to a once every couple of months pace for my liking.

Moreover while extroverts can run with others to keep their outgoing personalities sated during a long training run, what recourse does the introvert have during a race to be able to preserve his own inner sanctum? Would being more comfortable in large group settings quell my nerves in a race? I don’t know. On the other hand even as an introvert I do get a kick out of having people cheer my name. And I’m not known for being camera shy during a race.

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Which now makes me wonder, is running bringing out the extrovert in me?

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2 comments

  1. Interesting thought Rod.
    Lets first say I am an introvert myself, and I have ran 3 marathons: New York, Amsterdam and recently Rotterdam. I enjoy running and always run alone. I love the solitude while running. It has become an essential part of my life, not just the excercise, but also the time alone.
    While I absolutely like being part of a race, I don´t really mind the 10 or 40 thousand other runners. And yes, I also get a kick out of people cheering my name, or taking pictures. It is the crowd before, after and even during a race, which I do not enjoy. Actually, I hate waiting in my corridor for the race to start.
    Would being an extravert change the way I think about a race? I abolutely do think so!
    But these are just my two cents.

  2. Hey Marco! Thanks for your two cents 😀

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