Monday, December 10, 2007

How far can we go?

How far could we really go, actually? Where's the limit? I really have no answer, but from my experience running long distance, you can push it more than you think so.

This excellent article from New York Times ponder on how athletes use a strategy called disassociation.
It's pretty simple. In fact, I think most endurance guys already have their own way of pushing further and faster.
The main point is not to think of the pain so much, by thinking on other things.

For example, if the weather is too hot, I would just look down at my shadows while running. I imagine it's the cool zone which I will keep on chasing. On my ultras, I don't think how long I have covered, but how much distance left to cover. Thinking of previous distances might make you want to stop and say that's enough beating for your body for the day.

There's was once I ran a half marathon in the morning, and went swimming 2km in the evening. Frankly, running half marathon is enough of a torture for the day, so my swimming was really really slow. Every part of my body is in fatigue mode. But surprisingly enough, with 200 meters to go, from nowhere, I felt a resurgence in energy and stamina. Where did it came from? Logically, there should be less and less as you push more and more. With that, I could push myself to swim faster and stronger.

Your body is probably more capable than what you think you can!


CapArnabBrand said...

I have not pushed myself to my limits before, but I believe its kinda true... how else do you explain the phenomenon of marathoners suffering and slowing down in mid-race, but having the ability to surge in the last 200m? Its a safety feature in our bodies to tell us not to overstress ourselves, but when the end is near and you know that its the finish line, you can push yourself... which just means that if you can control your mind, you can push yourself a little bit harder a little bit earlier...

yipwt said...

hi bunny,

Yea....when you see the finishing know it'll all end, and the body somehow allows you to break free, so you could run faster.

Anonymous said...

Great article!
Mediocre runners like me dissociate all the time. I daydream, think of the day ahead, deal with my anger etc etc. It really helps to get to the end, esp if it's a long run or when my body's protesting already.
But I've read that actually full association is what makes you perform better as you're in tune with your body and leg turn-overs.
And I agree with the magical last few hundred meters, somehow all your pain is gone and you're shooting to the finish line!