Saturday, April 3, 2010

XX Running

I just read an interesting blog post that, while it is applied to mountain biking, is essentially about how women may approach sporting challenges differently from men. I found it highly instructional and it is something that anyone who coaches or trains/competes with women likely should understand. Some highlights:

[If] you’re a healthy male, you’ve gotten a large rush of adrenaline to the bloodstream. This is going to amp you up for the challenge, goad the competitive inkling and increase your focus and clarity; all helping you feel ready to attack.

If you’re a healthy woman, well, maybe not so much. You’ve released the adrenaline, but it’s likely you just got an even larger dose of acetocholine. This happy little hormone makes you feel uncomfortable and nauseated with clouded thought.

And because of an added rush of oxcytocin, the “Tend-and-Befriend” hormone, you have an urge to connect with others and tend to the needs of the group. You’re not necessarily looking to discuss your feelings, just the same you could throw out a “How you doin?”

What looks on the surface to be nervous chatter, is actually a physical response to help calm the nerves.


In addition to the above, there are many more gender differences in approach to challenge based on psychology and socialization.
Beth explained that when faced with a daunting physical challenge, it helps many ladies to understand that wanting to throw up isn’t always a sign to give up. This can make for a better assessment of a situation. And knowing that connecting with the group can lend to success, a woman can find support for herself through a challenge.

[For] most females, having options and an incremental approach when highly stressed is a step towards the desired goal.

“Just do it” doesn’t really give room for options or differences in learning styles. A woman might prefer, “Try this portion of the ride and see how you feel.”

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