Friday, May 15, 2009

How to beat exhaustion on your long runs

Men’s Health provides advice on how to run farther in their article, 'Work Out Harder, Faster, and Longer.’

According to Timothy Noakes, M.D., a professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Cape Town, our brains tell us to quit before our bodies actually need to stop running as a safety measure to protect our bodies from injury.

I do experience this in my long or hard runs. My body will be fine but my brain will start thinking – hey, this is too fast or hey, is my hip hurting, will I pull my IT band again? I find that once I start listening to my brain, I stop my workout prematurely.

The article gives runners a tip to get past this roadblock - Jane Hahn, a senior editor at Runner's World magazine, recommends focusing on a runner in front of you and picturing yourself being pulled toward him. I have used this strategy in races to run faster and keep focused on my goal.

I remember my high school cross country coach Mr. Pacheco always used to yell “you are doing fine” to the runners near the end of our races. I repeat his words to myself during long runs. If I don’t feel any actual pain in my body, just exhaustion, I am doing fine and I can complete the run.

What strategies to you use to increase your endurance on long runs?

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