My strava account (via Garmin connect) shows a total of 74.2 miles run last week. My largest mileage week of the year to date for me. The week’s schedule went something like this:
Mon: 17 miles
Tue: 8 miles @ general pace with 10 x 100m sprints (and 100m recoveries)
Wed: 12 miles general
Thu: 5 miles recovery
Fri: 12 miles
Sat: 5 miles recovery
Sun: 15 miles SLR
(You can go and find me at Strava if you want to see the runs in detail)
This was actually supposed to be a recovery week, and in a strange sense it was because there were no hard, fast runs. With the exception of Tuesdays 100m sprints, there were no fast sessions. It was a week of running on moderately tired legs, something I need to get used to with the ultra marathons that are happening in coming months. However, there were no sessions which left me gasping for air at the end or during. No lactate threshold sessions or VO2 boosting sessions, just an up in general mileage.
This coming week has more fast stuff and I’ll talk about that in next week’s mileage log.
Most of the week last week was pretty warm. Warm and humid. Humidity and warmth make me sweat more than usual and I am a big sweat machine anyway. My colouring is such that I was not really designed for running in sunshine. Despite this, I do love it. Especially now that you can get truckers caps for running, not just for recreation. With so much of my running done beside the sea front, it is all the more special to be running along the water’s edge on early Summer mornings.
What I have found with the excessive sweating during my runs is that I feel a tad more thirsty than usual in the day. I don’t actually take any fluids with me on my runs for any run less than 15 miles and rarely do during runs less than 20 miles. The key is simply to drink when thirsty and stop drinking when you are no longer thirsty. Your body then has the time it needs to absorb the water effectively. Over hydration can actually cause far greater problems than dehydration and the body tends to cope better with dehydration. On very rare occasions I take a salts and electrolyte tab, but the benefits are negligible at best from the quality research I have read and we’ll restore ourselves with a proper diet anyway.
For those wishing to explore this further, I recommend reading Tim Noakes’ book Waterlogged.
However, on a couple of runs, when I have not managed to get out early enough, I have ended up feeling very hot at the end of the run and needed to get in a cool, shady place and allow my core temperature to drop.
At night time however, I sometimes struggle to sleep when it is warm. I often yearn for a pillow that feels as if it has been in the fridge. I deal with it using self-hypnosis, and you knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?
This is not just some flight of fancy by the way. There are numerous studies that have examined the effects of hypnosis upon peripheral skin temperature and related blood supply and blood flow. In my consulting rooms and throughout my trainings, many clients and students often report a change in body temperature just as a bi-product of being hypnotised, some researchers have attempted to explore this and see if skin temperature is some sort of ‘bio-marker’ of hypnosis but have had mixed and inconclusive results (Reid & Curtisinger, 1968; Grabowska, 1971; Peters & Stern, 1974; Piedmont, Bregman & McAllister, 1985). However, of more interest to us here is whether or not (and how) hypnosis can be used to control or affect body temperature. I have seen students in my classrooms conducting glove anaesthesia, using mental imagery of cold and numbness whereby the skin colour has changed dramatically and the hand has felt cold to the touch compared to the other hand and despite being in a warm room!
The evidence would generally suggest that hypnosis can be used to alter temperature (Barabasz & McGeorge, 1978; Dikel & Olness, 1980; Piedmont, 1983). One study suggested that hypnosis was less about actually altering temperature, rather it altered the perception of temperature (Wallace & Kokoszka, 1992). A study that I have mentioned before on my main hypnosis blog even used hypnotically suggested hypothermia to control cancer metastases as a result of the blood withdrawing from those areas (August, 1975). As you can see then, despite many of the studies looking at warming up areas, there have been some that have looked at cooling temperature, which is great news for redhead self-hypnotists wanting to improve their ability to deal with heat waves! In general terms, the evidence is inconclusive regarding the direct effect of hypnosis upon actual peripheral skin temperature (though some studies would disagree), however, if (as some studies suggest) hypnosis simply alters the experience and perception of the individual, that is good enough for us, right?
I have drawn together the strategies used throughout the study methodologies to offer you up a process you can use to help cool yourself down. Simply get yourself into a receptive, upright, seated position, with your arms and legs uncrossed, in a place where you’ll be undisturbed for the duration of this session and then follow these simple steps.
Step One: Induce hypnosis.
You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my ‘Science of self-hypnosis’ book, use the free audio at my main hypnosis website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.
Step Two: Use progressive relaxation to get settled, to deepen your hypnotic experience and also to create a foundation of cooling sensation that you are going to build upon. That is, use a cooling, soothing sense of relaxation to deepen your hypnotic experience. Imagine cool colours (white or blue, for example) to spread around your body as you relax your muscles in turn. Imagine that as your body relaxes, it is using less energy and so producing less heat. Gently assure yourself of all the steps you engage in with this process, do not grasp at them or force them to occur. Believe they are happening and use your imagination to make each step as vivid as possible.
Use your internal dialogue and self-talk in a soothing manner throughout your relaxation to suggest coolness and a soothing sense of relaxation. For example, words like “cooler” “chilled” and “cooling” are obviously ideal. Take your time to do this diligently, gently and thoroughly. You’ll be rewarded for your patience and for not attempting to force yourself to cool down here, which I am sure you can imagine may have the opposite effect.
Once you have done this step throughly, move on to the next one.
Important note here: As I’ll say again at the end, not all of this imagery may be right for you, you can pick and choose which of steps 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 you do; I use all of them, the more sources I can draw upon to aid my cooling seems to suit me better, however, some of the imagery may not appeal to you or be imagery that you enjoy, therefore, use whatever you think is best for you. Do each of these steps in a thorough, diligent manner and take enough time (and be patient) to generate the effect required. Throughout any of the steps you follow, you might like to accompany each step with the idea of a mental thermostat and with each step you take, the thermostat shows your temperature gradually being reduced.
Step Three: Imagine that you have a medical drip attached that is helping to cool your blood. it is cooling and spreading around your body. You might imagine accompanying colours and sensations that spread through the body.
If you find this objectionable or too medical, it can be much simpler to imagine drinking a really cold, or icy drink (like a slushy or ice cone) and imagine it cooling you down on the inside. Imagine it spreading through you and cooling your core.
Step Four: Imagine having a novocaine injection administered that sends a distinctly cold, chilling sensation underneath your skin. Then imagine the coolness spreading and working it’s way through the body, cooling, chilling and soothing.
Step Five: Imagine that you have air conditioning in the room you are in which is set to chill the air and you can really notice it. How do you recognise that it is on? What sensations tell you that the room you are in is cooling?
Really believe that there is a cool icy breeze blowing all around you.
Step Six: Imagine that you administer ice packs to your skin. Pick areas that are key, or that you believe will affect the rest of your body. I imagine them on my forehead, in the centre of my chest and around my ankles.
Step Seven: Now either step in, or jump into an icy cold plunge pool, ice bath or step under a freezing cold shower. You may wish to avoid this step if you are doing this in bed at night and want to sleep, just in case you do it so well that you feel invigorated and awakened as a result!
I use my real-life memory and experience of stepping out of a sauna in the Finland countryside during winter and jumping into a lake where the surface ice had been cut through in order for us to get in. It took the breath away! It helps me to cool down greatly.
Step Eight: Now add more belief and use your cognitions in a relaxed fashion to advance all you have done so far. Use cognitions and believe that you are cooler and cooling further. Tell yourself you are. Believe that this is relaxing you, taking you deeper into hypnosis and also tell yourself that this cooling sensation continues healthily and appropriately for an hour or two after you have finished with the self-hypnosis session itself.
Step Nine: Exit hypnosis. If you follow my own protocol, then count yourself up and out from one through to five, otherwise, wiggle your fingers and toes, take some deeper breaths and open your eyes to bring the session to an end as you reorient yourself with your surroundings.
With steps 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, you can use all of just one of those things suggested (if you are uncomfortable with needles or drips, for example). As I say with many of these self-hypnosis processes, the evidence would suggest, and my experience with clients and students, is that regular practice enhances the results and responses you get with this kind of technique. Therefore, practice daily for several weeks to really be able to feel as if you have a good degree of control over your temperature, and if you experience a heatwave that you are not used to, I hope it helps you sleep at night 🙂
With some of the steps (ice packs, air conditioning, plunge pool) you might like to actually go and have some of those experiences and do them repeatedly so that you have as vivid a real-life experience to draw upon in your imagination when you use this self-hypnosis application. Pay close attention to the real-life experience, record as much detail as you can during the experience and it will give you more to apply in the self-hypnosis session.
Once you have practiced this process and are able to elicit a very real, tangible response, then you can start to use it when you finish your runs to help yourself cool down post-run. I’d be wary of using it when running though; you do not want to believe you are cooler than you are in the warm, and then end up getting too warm that it could be problematic.
Enjoy that, I’ll be back soon.
August, R. V. (1975) Hypnotic induction of hypothermia: an additional approach to postoperative control of cancer recurrence. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 18: 52-55.
Barabasz, A. F. & McGeorge, C. M. (1978) Biofeedback, mediated feedback and hypnosis in peripheral vasodilation training. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 21: 28-37.
Dikel, W. & Olness, K. (1980) Self-hypnosis, biofeedback, and voluntary peripheral temperature control in children. Pediatrics, 66: 335-340.
Grabowska, M. J. (1971) The effects of hypnosis and hypnotic suggestion on the blood flow in the extremities. Polish Medical Journal, 10: 1044-1051.
Peters, J. E. & Stern, R. M. (1974) Peripheral skin temperature and vasomotor responses during hypnotic induction. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 21: 102-108.
Piedmont, R. L. (1983) Relationship between hypnotic susceptibility and thermal regulation: new directions for research. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 56: 627-631.
Reid, A. F. & Curtisinger, G. (1968) Physiological changes associated with hypnosis: the effect of hypnosis on temperature. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 16: 111-119.
Wallace, B. & Kokoszka, A. (1992) Experience of peripheral temperature change during hypnotic analgesia. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 40: 180-193.