Ask Pete: How Can I Change into a More durable Runner

Picture: 101 Levels West

QUESTION: How do I change into a more durable runner?

ANSWER: Change into a fitter and smarter runner.


I’ve all the time been thought-about a really “robust” runner. In spite of everything, you don’t win USA Masters Cross Nation Runner of the 12 months 5 occasions in case you’re not robust, proper? You don’t set American age group data for 5K in three straight age teams (45-49, 50-54, and 55-59) in case you’re not a psychological and bodily beast, proper? … Unsuitable!

Right here’s the reality: I completely hate ache and struggling throughout a race.

To restrict each, I practice each side of working and race physiology—muscle tissues, connective tissue, power programs, nervous system, and extra—to make sure that I carry prime health to a race. Then I execute the race in essentially the most environment friendly means doable, the higher to delay the onset of struggling, a course of I name “shortening the race” as a result of I decrease the time spent in ache.

Plenty of runners assume being “robust” means going out laborious after which battling anybody who tries to go them. However this creates a surge in each anaerobic power use and nervous system messaging, which in flip results in physiological and psychological fatigue.

As an alternative, I run your complete race at even effort (not tempo), which regularly places me behind within the first a part of a race but additionally permits me to achieve the mid-point with out feeling nearly any ache. I spend the second half of the race passing individuals who went out too laborious—all of whom damage greater than I do.

As I inform the runners I coach, “It’s straightforward to be robust while you damage lower than everybody round you.”

Thoughts you, even effort doesn’t imply your complete race will really feel precisely the identical. It means you’ll drain your power reserves and nervous system capability at a good fee. On the observe in an ideal race, that might lead to a superbly even tempo. However that by no means occurs in the true world. It doesn’t occur in races the place you have got uphills, downhills, uneven terrain, wind, sharp turns, different opponents to cope with, and so forth. In the true world, even effort requires adjustments in tempo (e.g., slowing down up hills), however your focus ought to stay on a constant expenditure of power.

Sure, I endure ache and struggling in each coaching and racing. However I restrict them as a lot as I can. And by limiting them, my mind—tasked with governing my physique’s response to fatigue—permits me to run quicker than if I’d flooded my physique with agony. In reality, if we endure an excessive amount of too early in a race or exercise, our brains have an innate, immutable response: They shut down our muscle tissues and decelerate our tempo for worry that we’ll damage or kill ourselves—and there’s nothing “robust” about that.

Pete Magill is a working coach, world-class runner, and writer. As a coach, Magill has led his masters’ golf equipment to 19 USATF Nationwide Masters Championships in cross nation and highway racing and has labored with athletes of all ages and skills. He holds a number of American and world age-group data and is a 5-time USA Masters Cross Nation Runner of the 12 months. Magill is writer of SpeedRunner, Construct Your Working Physique, The Born Once more Runner and the upcoming Quick 5K. 

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