The Scientifically Proven Ways to Run Longer is a comprehensive guide to running faster, longer, stronger, and healthier.
This article summarizes the research that I have done in my spare time over the past few years. It has been written to be as concise and easy-to-read as possible while still providing enough information for you to make informed decisions about your running form. If it seems like too much info at once, don’t worry – this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive guide on how to run faster or longer; instead, it should help you understand what factors affect your running performance so that you can improve them by making minor changes to your training program.
If you want more detail than this short introduction provides, feel free to read through the article “How To Improve Your Running Form”.
What Is My Goal?
My goal here is not to tell you exactly how to train better or perform well during races. Instead, I aim to give you insight into why specific runners can achieve their goals when others aren’t. By understanding these differences between individuals, you can apply those insights to yourself and improve your athletic ability.
I believe that there are three main reasons why people fail to reach their potential:
Their body doesn’t respond appropriately to exercise
For example, if someone lacks muscle strength, their muscles might fatigue very quickly despite working harder than usual. Or, maybe they’re unable to generate power effectively due to poor flexibility or coordination. Whatever the case, if your body does not adapt appropriately to the demands placed upon it, you’ll never see any improvements in fitness.
Lack of motivation
They lack the motivation required to stick to a long-term plan. This could mean they haven’t found something that really motivates them, or perhaps they see the process of planning hard work. Either way, if you want to succeed, you need to commit to doing things differently from now until race day. The good news is that most athletes will naturally start out feeling motivated because they love sport, but after several months without improvement, many lose interest and become demotivated. So, even though you may initially enjoy training, if you do nothing else different, eventually you won’t continue unless you get serious about changing your habits.
Motivation & Mental Health
It’s important to remember that motivation comes in two forms: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsically, you already maintain all the motivation necessary to pursue your goals. However, extrinsic forces such as praise, money, social approval, etc., motivate you to change your behavior. For instance, if you wanted to eat healthier food, you would probably avoid unhealthy foods by using willpower alone. In contrast, if you also received financial incentives for eating healthily, you’d be far more likely to follow through with your plans.
In terms of mental health, studies show that high self-esteem correlates strongly with improved physical and emotional well-being. People who experience higher levels of happiness tend to live longer.
Serotonin levels are low
Athletes who suffer from depression often struggle to keep up their training programs. One study showed that depressed patients were significantly less likely to complete a marathon compared to non-depressed subjects. However, we know that serotonin plays a role in mood regulation, which means that having lower serotonin levels puts us at a greater risk of becoming unwell. Therefore, if you think you’d benefit from taking medication to boost your serotonin levels, please speak to your doctor before starting your new regime.
They don’t know which drills/exercises to focus on
In other words, they don’t know where to put all the effort they’ve spent practicing various exercises. As a result, they end up focusing on everything except one thing. This leads to wasted energy, frustration, and ultimately failure.
So, let me ask you again: What is your ultimate goal? Do you want to win a marathon? Then you must first decide whether you want to compete against other elite athletes or merely set personal records. Next, you need to figure out what type of runner you are. Are you fast? Strong? Flexible? How far would you like to go? And finally, you need to choose a specific strategy based on your unique strengths and weaknesses. Once you’ve answered each question, you’ll be ready to take action towards achieving your goals.
For instance, if you want to beat your best half marathon time, you need to determine how fit you currently are compared to your target level. You also need to identify what types of workouts you already practice regularly, such as speed work, tempo run, hill repeats, etc., since only activities that fall within your current skill base will contribute positively to your overall progress. Finally, you need to consider what kind of physical attributes you possess to ensure that you’re putting forth maximum effort throughout every workout.
In order to answer these questions, we need to look at two important aspects of human physiology: our skeletal system and our cardiovascular system. These systems interact closely together, and both play key roles in determining how effective we are at performing endurance sports.
Our skeleton provides us with structural support for our bodies. It consists primarily of bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, nerves, and fluid-filled cavities. Together, this complex network helps keep us upright and mobile while allowing us to move freely through space. If any part of our skeleton were damaged, it wouldn’t matter how strong our muscles were—we couldn’t run, jump, climb stairs, swim, lift weights, or perform any number of everyday tasks.
In addition to providing stability, our skeleton plays an essential role in regulating temperature by helping cool down when exposed to cold temperatures and heat up when exposed to hot environments. Skeleton also controls metabolism, digestion, sleep cycles, hormone production, immune function, and more. All of these functions help regulate our daily lives so that we can live healthy, active lifestyles.
As mentioned earlier, our cardiovascular system delivers oxygen-rich blood to our organs and removes carbon dioxide waste products produced during aerobic activity. Our heart pumps blood around our circulatory system via four chambers: right ventricle, left ventricle, pulmonary artery, and systemic arteries.
The pumping capacity of the heart depends mainly upon its size, which increases proportionately to body mass. In fact, the larger the animal, the greater the cardiac output needed to maintain adequate circulation levels. For example, a horse needs about ten times the amount of blood pumped per minute than does a person!
When exercising, our hearts work harder because they have to pump faster and stronger to deliver enough oxygenated blood to all parts of our bodies. This increased demand for energy leads to higher metabolic rates. Our lungs increase their ventilation rate to meet this challenge, increasing the exchange surface area between air and blood. As a result, less oxygen gets wasted due to diffusion across alveolar membranes into surrounding tissues, and more oxygen reaches cells where it is used to produce ATP molecules.
To remove excess CO2 from the bloodstream, our kidneys filter blood passing through them. They do this using tiny capillaries lined with thin walls made of protein fibers known as glomeruli. Each kidney has approximately 1 million filtrating units, but only 4% operate at peak efficiency. Because most of the remaining 96% of filters don’t function properly, much of the filtered material passes back into the bloodstream along with some urine. However, even though most water and electrolytes pass through the renal tubules unaltered, many substances remain trapped inside the filtering unit. These include urea, creatinine, and uric acid. Urine then flows out of the urinary bladder through the ureters.
Muscle tissue makes up nearly 50 percent of our total body weight. Muscle contraction occurs when individual muscle fibers contract against one another. When activated, skeletal muscles can generate force and movement. A single muscle fiber contracts if stimulated electrically, chemically, mechanically, or thermally.
During exercise, the brain sends signals to each muscle group involved in performing specific actions. These messages tell the muscle what type of action to take. One such sign tells the muscle to shorten itself, causing the attached tendon to pull on the bone. Another causes the muscle to lengthen, stretching the connective tissue attaching the muscle to the bone. Both types of movements require energy.
To provide this energy, mitochondria within muscle cells use adenosine triphosphate molecules generated by cellular respiration. Once formed, ATP travels throughout the cell until it finds an enzyme capable of breaking apart the chemical bonds holding together two atoms of ADP molecules. After doing so, the freed ADP binds to other enzymes to form new ATP molecules. This process continues until there aren’t sufficient available free ADP molecules to make additional ATP molecules.
At that point, the cell begins to break down stored glycogen into glucose molecules. Glucose enters the cytoplasm via special channels called GLUTs. Inside the cell, glucose is converted to pyruvate. Pyruvate combines with coenzyme NADH to create acetyl-CoA, a molecule containing six carbon atoms. Acetyl-CoA can be further broken down into fatty acids or oxidized to release energy. During aerobic metabolism, fat provides 90% of fuel while carbohydrates account for just 5%. Fatty acids also contain twice as many calories per gram compared to carbs. Thus, during prolonged activity, we need to consume fats rather than sugars.
Building speed endurance
To produce more power, you must increase your heart rate above its resting value. The best way to achieve this goal is to run faster or longer distances. To build speed endurance, gradually work towards running 3 miles at speeds between 8:00/mile. If you have been training regularly over several months, your fitness level will improve enough to reach these goals without training any harder. However, you may want to start slowly because fast starts cause injuries like stress fractures in the lower leg bones.
If you haven’t trained long distances before, begin with shorter runs. For example, try 2 miles, which should take about 30 minutes. Gradually add time to your workouts, aiming to complete three 10K races in less than 60 hours. Your first race could be a fun event where friends compete; later ones might be marathons, half-marathon, or full marathon events.
As you gain experience, you’ll find yourself reaching higher paces faster. In fact, after completing five 20 mile road races, you may feel ready to tackle a 42K ultra-distance trail run. As you progress, remember to drink plenty of fluids during exercise and eat small amounts frequently. Also, avoid drinking alcohol before exercising since it interferes with carbohydrate absorption.
Athletic performance nutrition guide
Building strength and endurance are essential aspects of athletic development. However, they’re not necessarily achieved through weightlifting alone. Instead, building both requires a combination of exercises designed specifically to strengthen muscles used in sports activities. Additionally, proper dieting plays a crucial role in achieving optimal results from physical conditioning programs.
The most effective strategy involves consuming fewer calories than one’s body burns each day for those who wish to lose weight. A good rule of thumb is to subtract 500 calories from daily caloric intake to lose 1 pound per week. Of course, losing weight isn’t simply a matter of eating less food. It takes discipline and motivation to stick to such a program. Fortunately, weight loss becomes more accessible once started due to increased metabolic efficiency caused by improved cardiovascular health.
Nutritionists recommend maintaining healthy blood sugar levels to prevent fatigue and maintain overall well-being. Carbohydrates play a critical role in providing quick energy sources, but too much sugar can lead to insulin resistance, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes. Protein helps repair damaged tissue and builds lean mass, but excess protein consumption has been linked to kidney stones. Fats help absorb vitamins and minerals and promote brain function, but excessive dietary fat increases coronary artery disease and stroke risk factors.
While some people prefer to improve their cardio capacity, others seek to develop muscular strength and stamina. An ideal workout plan includes a mix of strength training, and interval training performed four times weekly. Strength training improves bone density and reduces injury risks associated with repetitive movement patterns. Interval training allows athletes to burn large quantities of calories quickly. By alternating periods of intense effort with rest intervals, athletes maximize calorie expenditure while avoiding overtraining.
When running at top speeds, oxygen delivery to working muscle cells decreases because more air must pass through the lungs. This decrease in available oxygen leads to lactic acid buildup in the bloodstream that causes burning sensations in the legs and other symptoms commonly known as “runner’s cramps.” To reduce this effect, runners need to train aerobically so that they don’t have to rely solely on anaerobic metabolism when sprinting. Aerobic fitness also enables individuals to better tolerate prolonged bouts of hard work without getting tired.
To improve aerobic fitness, start slowly. If you’ve never exercised regularly before, ease into things by walking briskly around the block several days a week. After two weeks, increase your pace until you reach a comfortable level of exertion. Then gradually build up speed until you’re able to jog comfortably for 15 minutes straight. Once you achieve this goal, aim to extend your jogging sessions to 45 minutes twice a week. Eventually, you will want to incorporate longer-duration walks and short bursts of fast running.
In addition to increasing heart rate, vigorous activity stimulates the release of endorphins, natural painkillers produced naturally within the human body. Endorphin production occurs primarily in response to strenuous exercise, allowing exercisers to enjoy greater feelings of pleasure and relaxation following extended efforts.
If you are looking for an easy way to get fit without having to join any gyms or spend hours working out at home, consider taking advantage of free classes offered through local schools, community centers, churches, YMCAs, and other organizations that offer group fitness programs. These facilities also provide personal trainers to guide participants through workouts explicitly tailored to meet individual needs.
Lactic Acid Buildup
When muscles contract during physical activity, they generate lactic acid as a waste product. As the muscle cells break down glycogen stores stored inside them, more lactate is released. The accumulation of lactic acid causes pH changes that slow down the performance of nearby red blood cells. This effect limits oxygen delivery to active tissues, causing tiredness. To reduce lactic buildup, drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercising. Avoiding foods containing carbohydrates such as bread, cereals, and pasta may be helpful if you tend to experience cramps when performing prolonged activities.
After long-term use, muscles become accustomed to specific exercises and movements, which leads to increased tolerance for those same motions. However, repeated bouts of heavy lifting or sprinting eventually cause microscopic tears in muscle fibers that require recovery time to heal. During this period, the affected area becomes tender and swollen. Resting between sets of weightlifting or sprinting minimizes damage caused by cumulative stress. In general, it’s best to avoid extreme intensity during the first few days of a new program. Instead, perform moderate repetitions followed by brief rests. Gradually work toward higher powers as tolerated.
Athletes who engage in regular stretching routines report fewer injuries than those who don’t stretch before engaging in sports or athletic activities. Stretches should always begin from a standing position and progress to more profound times only.
Weight lifting is one of the most effective ways to develop muscular strength. It’s beneficial if you plan to participate in contact sports, but even people who don’t engage in competitive athletics benefit from regular resistance training. Strength training builds lean body mass and increases overall stamina.
Lifting weights strengthens all major muscle groups, including those needed for movement. Doing so helps prevent injury and improves posture. Weight lifters typically perform sets of 12 repetitions using light loads–that is, weights that allow them to lift only once or twice. Larger numbers indicate heavier loads. When working out, aim for four to eight reps per set. Rest periods between sets vary depending upon the intensity of the workout and how much rest you’ve had previously. A typical routine includes warm-up stretches followed by 4 to 6 sets of upper body lifts combined with lower-body moves. Then comes the cooling down period when you do static holds, flexibility routines, and cooldowns.
Running is probably the single most popular sport among athletes. But runners often complain of soreness following their weekly sessions. This pain can last days or weeks and hinder subsequent performances. Endurance training reduces fatigue while improving cardiovascular health. It also helps maintain bone density and prevents osteoporosis.
Fat comprises triglycerides, long chains of three essential components: glycerol, a fatty acid chain, and a third component called a “fatty acyl residue.” Fats come mainly from food sources like meat, dairy products, eggs, fish oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, coconut oil, olive oil, etc., although synthetic forms exist. Most people get 30–40 grams of dietary fat daily.
Most healthy adults should eat no more than 25g/day of saturated fat. Saturated fats raise LDL cholesterol, which may lead to atherosclerosis.
Unhealthy fats have been linked to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, depression, infertility, asthma, allergies, ADHD, autism, dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep disorders, and erectile dysfunction.
Glucose is the primary source of carbohydrates used by humans. It contains four carbons and releases 4 kilocalories upon combustion. The human body uses glucose directly as its primary source of energy. In addition, glucose serves as a significant building block for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and hormones.
Glucose is made from starch through digestion. Starch consists of amylase, alpha-glucosidase, beta-glucosidase, debranching enzymes, and branching enzymes. Saliva glands and the pancreas produce amylases. Alpha-glucosidase breaks down complex starches into simpler ones. Beta glucosidase then converts these simple starches into smaller sugar units. Debranching enzymes remove branches off the end of the larger sugar unit. Branching enzymes add back onto the lots of the shorter sugar units. When all these steps occur correctly, they result in glucose.
In conclusion, carbohydrates provide fuel for our bodies. They help us grow, heal, and function properly. However, too many carbs cause weight gain and insulin resistance. Too little causes low blood sugar levels and poor performance during exercise.
Alex is a fitness aficionado, empowers others towards healthier, active lives through small, sustainable changes for lasting results. Visit Gearuptofit.com for insightful tips and resources to enrich a balanced lifestyle.