Article Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

Why Can’t I Run Faster?


Jan. 6, 2016 Runners World

Contrary to the outdated locker-room myth, the reason you hit your limits is not simply that lactic acid is scorching your muscles. Instead, the sensations you feel while running each correspond to a different minicrisis in your body, and they combine to determine whether you can hold your pace.

Last spring, scientists from around the world gathered in San Diego for a special conference to share the latest results in their search for the ultimate limits of endurance. They discussed hot new topics like metabolites and mental fatigue, as well as the familiar foes like heat and hydration. Here is what their findings reveal about what’s behind the pain of pushing for a PR.

“I CAN’T CATCH MY BREATH!”
Cause: Oxygen deficit
Occurrence: Shortly after starting to run
Antidote: A “priming” warmup, including a sustained burst of intense running

“I’M RUNNING HARDER, BUT I’M NOT SPEEDING UP!”
Cause: Inefficient muscle-fiber recruitment
Occurrence: Sustained medium efforts like 10K to half marathon
Antidote: Train your fast-twitch fibers to be more efficient.

“MY LEGS ARE ON FIRE!”
Cause: Metabolite accumulation in your muscles triggers signals to your brain.
Occurrence: Mile or 5K races, fast surges, or finishing sprints
Antidote: Short, fast interval workouts

“I GIVE UP!”
Cause: Effort overload
Occurrence: Anytime you’re pushing your limits
Antidote: Train your brain.

Click read more for other barriers and more about the antidotes for those listed above.

Read More on Runners World

Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund

Apply Today

All Resources

Tell Me More

Plant-based diets reduce risk of heart disease, dementia, study finds

What does it mean to go plant based?

Read More

Long-term, heavy coffee consumption and CVD risk

Too much coffee could take a toll on your heart health.

Read More

The Essential Role of Sleep in Immunity

Maximizing sleep for defense against COVID and the best vaccine results

Read More

The connection between post-traumatic stress disorder and nutrition

What does fiber, chocolate and living in poverty have to do with PTSD?

Read More

Personal Boundaries: Privacy and Personal Space in Pandemic

What to do when the pandemic steals control of your privacy and personal space.

Read More

A CEO’s Guide to Planning a Return to the Office

Today’s decisions will set the tone for the future.

Read More

How to Deal with a Shockingly Big Utility Bill

Extreme weather can lead to changes in your utility bills. Be patient and take action.

Read More

Is the Division of Labor Fair in Your Marriage? Here’s How to Figure It Out

Setting expectations about who does what — and adjusting them again and again — is crucial.

Read More