You're on the road having fun on your run. Feeling energetic, you decide to pick up the pace and finish the last few miles on a high note. That's when it hits you. You get this overwhelming sensation to slow down, even stop running. You think it's just negative thoughts, so you try to mind-over-matter it and kick your legs harder, but you find that overwhelming sensation only growing bigger and bigger. You ask yourself, "What the bleep is happening to me?!!!"
This is your brain.....on R.U.N.S.
The human body manages a multiple of highly complex interactions to maintain balance or return systems to functioning within a normal range. These interactions within the body facilitate compensatory changes supportive of physical and psychological functioning. A term we know as homeostasis.
From the moment you take your first stride, you're violating homeostasis, and your brain begins to figure out how to return back to a normal, balanced state. The brain acts like a safety device, it's primary focus is to make sure you don't stray too far from homeostasis. Essentially, the brain just wants to prevent harm or damage from occurring.
If we go too far, our brain intervenes. This can occur in a number of ways; our glycogen storage (body's main source of fuel) runs low, core temperature rises too high, or oxygen to the brain decreases. Whatever the system, it has a limit to how far it can go. But what is really interesting about it all, is that the brain's thermostat-like mechanism can be adjusted. How far a runner can go outside of homeostasis depends on how well they train.
The brain can be overprotective for runners who are not as fit or experienced, producing the feeling of fatigue to occur when the muscle glycogen level is low but far from depletion. Through effective training, the brain becomes less cautious, allowing the runner to continue running to the point where the level of depletion is extremely close to actual depletion. Training can increase the amount of glycogen your muscles and liver are able to store. Highly fit runners have a larger supply of glycogen, and can run longer before the brain receives signals of glycogen depletion that prompt fatigue.
You're brain matters and so does your mind. Belief plays a powerful role in your abilities. In a study conducted by A.C.E. (American Council on Exercise), time trial performance was enhanced in runners who watched a video that showcased the amazing performance benefits of super-oxygenated water. This type of water does exist, but offers no super performance benefits. These runners were given ordinary tap water yet were told it was super-oxygenated water. They all ran faster because they believed they could run faster. Mind the matter (your brain) and mind the things that matter. It's not all in your head........but a significant amount of it is.