Running and stress is mixed for me. There have been many problems solved or at least vented when I ran with friends. Solo it made things better usually, but running after deaths, and divorce were tougher. Give me a time deadline to get a run in, and it will be tougher to run well. If I get the run in, any problems are a lot easier to deal with.
I find the opposite. Running, and exercise in general, are my best stress relievers. The more stressed I am, the more I need some amount of physical exercise in my daily life to keep from going insane. Therefore, the better I will train because I am more motivated...it's not then something I just like or enjoy or helps me keep my weight under control, it is my most powerful tool to get through a hard day.
PRs: 5K- 28:16 (5/5/13) 10K- 1:00:13 (10/27/13) 4M- 41:43 (9/7/13) 15K- 1:34:25 (8/17/13) 10M- 1:56:30 (4/6/14) HM- 2:20:16 (4/13/14)
I started a blog about running :) Check it out if you care to
I think the linked blog post is well worth reading, for anyone who hasn't. The hypothesis isn't about whether running raises or lowers your stress level, it's about whether your body adapts as well to training when you're under increased amounts of stress.
Up next: Front Runners New York LGBT Pride 5-mile 06/28 | NYRR Team Championships: Women (5M) 08/02
Goal race: NYCRUNS Haunted Island 10K 10/25
Wow. Timely topic. This week has been tough. Started out well, then stress hit at work Monday and has been going on all week. By Wed. it felt like I had been doing back to back to back hard days. Thought maybe it was a bug, but it sure sounds like stress.
For me, it depends on the type of stress. My usual stress, and it isn't that stressful, is my kids. I rarely lose my temper and I often channel any anger or frustration into my run. Before Christmas, a few awful things happened and I was sad. I couldn't run, because it gave my mind too much time to wander. I could distract myself with music on the treadmill, but outside, alone with my thoughts, it was awhile before I could do it.
Jess runs for bacon
If I have a really bad day at work, every once in a while I say screw it and go to the bar. Sometimes I'm just way too agitated to run. But only with work, personal issues don't come around often thankfully and I find that running helps with those. I'm able to sort through problems and make plans while running, and post run I can focus and do what I need to do.
So yes, it does, but on those days I just don't run.
Makes total sense. Cortisol release is going to happen regardless of what the stressor is and over time that can actually damage progress (as you figured out).
If you have access to Training Peaks or articles by Friel, you will see they look at the Chronic Training Load and Acute Training loads with their software. Using HR, paces/power output it will calculate out a TSS, training stress score, and when that ratio is way off, I can figure out pretty quickly if I am headed towards disaster.
Life stress and exercise stress impact one another much more than people want to realize. This was why I cut way back on volume these past 2 years and capped training time to 10 hours maximum at peak because anything over that and I fall apart and miss workouts.