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Jessica Varney's picture

I'm not a dancer, but as a

I'm not a dancer, but as a long distance runner, I have my own set of observations from what I conclude must be the I-function and its effect on performance. When I run casually, it's easy for me to have conversations with myself, think about the words to catchy songs, consciously change my posture, and watch the members of the Bi-Co Ultimate Frisbee team practice by the Duck Pond. However, when I put in more effort and pick up the tempo, I find that the extra things I think about slowly start to disappear. When I'm having my absolute best workouts and races, there is no soundtrack playing in my head, and I won't remember any of the details about the grueling cross-country course I just ran. During a race, I am finely attuned to only the most important details: look up at the competitor in front of me, keep my elbows tucked in, and focus on my stride rate and breathing. Scenery? Forget it. They're throwing the javelin in the infield? It was windy? Good thing I never noticed. I don't have to worry about forgetting the moves, but I definitely relate to your description of being tuned "in to" the act.

I think there may be a connection between delegating functions between the I-function and the rest of the nervous system. When the I-function is not preoccupied with worrying, stage fright, overthinking, we perform better. I wonder how we can better train ourselves to turn off the I-function while we're performing.

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