How to Teach Your Brain to Run – Part 2

The second edition of how to teach your brain to run looks into the five individual strategies that can be implemented into your running training regime. They are based on the premise that your brain can be trained to ease up on making assumptions about body fatigue. These simple strategies are meant to be combined together with your normal running training and are not just a simple way of getting your body used to running longer and faster. You must also be in good physical shape to train your brain.

Repetitions on Race-Effort

The first obstacle that you must overcome is that your brain needs to be taught that all effort is controllable and manageable. Your training workout must be challenging enough so that it represents the fatigue that you may suffer in the latter part of your runs. Your brain will get used to the effort required and not to send signals to the rest of your body to start shutting down.

Down a Refreshing Pint!

Normally when you compete in a marathon or an endurance race you will take on board extra energy by downing sports drinks. Your body does not react well to dehydration or low glycogen stores but for this exercise leave your fluid belt at home. Train your brain to allow the discomfort of dehydration and to acclimatize itself to such conditions. When you finally come to race and do take on extra fluids your performance will be significantly better. Of course, after your training sessions you will need to replenish your fluid levels correctly.

Go on Extended Runs

If you are training for a marathon it is common to train so that your body is physically ready to take on the exact mileage. However, this sends the wrong signals to your brain. So, when you are close to the end of the race your brain automatically presumes that your body must be near the end of its tether. To defeat this assumption, add extended runs to your training, and this way when you are in the last third of your race your brain is comfortable that there is plenty left in the tank and will not issue fatigue messages to the rest of your body.

Introduce Negative-Split Running

Give your brain extra things to think about than the exact same training. And a great way of getting your brain to accept different conditions is to introduce negative-split running into your training. This means that occasionally run the last part of your training distance at the same speed as you would in a race environment.

Run Tune-Up Races

Your brain needs to be conditioned to think that the rest of your body can handle all the effort that a race needs. And regular tune-up runs that are integrated into your training will train your brain into thinking that your body can step up to the plate if more effort is required. First and foremost, your brain is out to protect you, and you need to convince it that the rest of your body is up to the task at hand. Trained properly your brain will reward you with a significant boost to your performance.