We all want to run faster and be the fastest, but running faster is easier said than done. The reality is that we struggle to breath and our legs just don’t seem to be able to go faster. There are many factors that affect your run, from metabolic and mental fatigue to heat and hydration. Use these tips to improve your time and run faster.
When you start running, the oxygen needs of your muscles immediately spike, but the time it takes for the rest of your body to respond is dictated by your response time. Oxygen deficit then causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up, dilate the blood vessels, and activate oxygen-processing enzymes in the muscles themselves. As a result, within a few minutes your muscles are getting enough oxygen. However, the temporary oxygen shortage has caused your muscles to feel fatigued therefore leaving you with less energy for the final sprint.
The quick fix is to warmup properly. Ten to twenty minutes prior to your race, include a sustained burst of intense running in your warmup. This will activate enzymes and dilate blood vessels, and allow you enough time to recover before the race starts.
Learning how to breathe while running at faster speeds take practice. Use both your nose and mouth while inhaling and exhaling to get the maximum amount of oxygen to the muscles. Also, try belly breathing- fill the stomach, not the chest, with air on each inhale.
2. Run Smarter, Not Harder
The early miles of a half marathon often feel easy. You’re not running fast and your slow-twitch muscle fibers are running efficiently. As time goes on though, these fibers begin to fatigue and run low on fuel. To replace them, your brain recruits fast-twitch fibers, which require more energy and oxygen to deliver the same output.
The quick fix is to train your fast-twitch fibers to be more efficient. Fast-twitch fibers are usually deployed for explosive movements. Therefore, it is important to run long distances when training to get your fast-twitch muscles to deliver slow and steady power.
3. Keep the Pace
We’ve all been guilty of trying to run too fast too soon. Everyone knows that even pacing is a necessity for success in distance running, and that holding back at the beginning of a race is essential for getting the most out of yourself. Putting this into practice, however, can be a challenge. Remind yourself that almost no one ever suffers for going out too slow in a race.
4. Don’t give up
Mental fatigue is a real thing. The struggle to continue is against a mounting desire to stop. All the other forms of fatigue contribute to your overall sense of how hard it would be to maintain your pace or speed. Runners spend more of their training time trying to make their muscles, heart, and lungs stronger and more efficient. However, you also need to train your mind. Using techniques such as subliminal messages, motivational self-talk and brain endurance training can all help you to train your mind.