When you’re chasing down cardiovascular fitness, preparing a detailed blueprint for your next 10K might seem like an eminently sensible tactic. But new research suggests that focusing on a specific distance will only hold you back. Instead, adopt the Forrest Gump-like method of running until you’re done. It’ll give your training extra mileage and boost your stamina.
Researchers at the University of Bologna, together with footwear brand Asics, invited 22 sportsmen to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. They were challenged to run for as long as they could at their optimal pace, which had been calculated by performance specialists, who analysed statistics from the athletes’ previous runs.
On race day, they were asked to keep going until they dropped below their set pace three times. Free from the mental constraints of a finish line, the athletes pushed on an astonishing 24 per cent further than expected. The former England footballer Wayne Bridge ran 21.2 miles, almost double his predicted distance. What’s more, the participants’ average perceived effort didn’t increase.
Running long distances is never easy, but leaving your tracking tech at home could be the simplest, surest way to ease your Sunday-morning dread. With no finish line, you might end up a long way from home, so start by testing out this new strategy at the local track. Plug into a podcast, and just get moving.
4 Tips to Run Further
Before you start pounding the pavement, optimise your chances of going further than ever with our pre-run checklist.
60 Minutes Before Your Run
A single 200mg pill of rhodiola rosea extract can keep you running for up to 10 per cent longer, according to research from KU Leuven.
10 Minutes Before Your Run
Look and feel the part by wearing compression gear: it reduces your perceived effort.
5 Minutes Before Your Run
Beetroot juice helps to expand your blood vessels and increase your lung capacity.
1 Minute Before Your Run
Keeping your palms cool adds endurance. Freeze your water bottle and hold on tight as you run.
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