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Saturday, May 8

Running and Memory

skull Img WikiI enjoy reading race reports. I’m always impressed by the detail some runners note, including mile by mile verbiage – incredible.
I, for some reason, have to force myself to remember details. (I haven’t been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s yet!) I do have vivid memories of the start and finish line and any fun encounters.
There are a number of factors that can influence our memory of an event:

Factors that Affect Recall (From Wiki on Recollection)

“…divided attention slows down the process, yet has little to no effect on its accuracy.”
And I thought running with the iPod blasting was replacing my memoires with a confusion of beats.

“Any form of motivation…generally leads a person to better recall.”
Some parts of the race I DON’T WANT TO REMEMBER!

“They (memories) are not moved into long-term memory and are thus lost.”
When did I eat my last pineapple Clif Kid Twisted Fruit Stix?

"In other words, you can recall more when the environments are similar. Deep-sea divers recalled their training more effectively when trained underwater, rather than being trained on land...”
So maybe I should be taking notes along the way. Or better yet, run the course again for a cool down.

State-Dependent Memory
“Stimulants, such as cocaine, amphetamines or caffeine are known to improve recall in humans.”
I’m sure the Runners’ High qualifies as a factor. It makes you feel invincible and erases stuff like that grating pain in your right knee. (Interestingly enough, I discovered one of the side effects of Ambien (my favorite nightcap) is – Anterograde amnesia.)

“Consistently, females perform better than males on episodic memory tasks…females in general are more likely than males to recall their mistake.”
Most of the lengthy race reports I’ve read are written by female bloggers!

Here’s a few great reports: (M&F)
Happy Runner – The Race for the Cure 5K race report
Steve in a Speedo? - Half Marathon; no, Quarter Marathon; no, 10K; no 10.25K Race Report!
Meg Runs - Ultra Race Report!
Middle-of the-Pack Girl - BAA 5K Race Report

Other related links:
How to Remember Things
Brain Training For Runners:
Marathons are Good and Bad for Memory