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Endurance Running Biohacks to Keep Running
Whether you have a specific target such as running a marathon or you just want to improve your running efficiency, there are a few endurance running biohacks that you can experiment with to achieve your peak performance.
As you may know, if you have read some of our previous articles, biohacking is the science of optimizing your performances and health by using biology and/or technology.
If you are looking into improving your running efficiency, you might have already looked into changing your diet or interval training. We are going to look into details at some of the training aspects, but also into tricks and biohacks that you can use for improving your physical performance and your running stamina.
Run Longer Tempo Runs, and More Training Biohacks
You will find plenty of running plans depending on the goal you want to achieve, but it is not one size fits all. If you are building up your running performance and your overall stamina, or if you are a beginner, you might want to consult with a coach to help you with a running plan that works for you and will help you achieve your goal.
In any case, here are some of the types of running workouts you can experiment with.
Tempo run pace is running at a pace that is a little bit less than when you are maxing out. Runners World has a great tempo training pace calculator to assist you with finding this zone. It should be hard enough so that you need to push a bit but still can sustain the effort. The idea behind this is that this is the level of effort at which your body clears as much lactate as it produces, which will avoid the fatigue of a long run or the dead-leg feeling.
Some people assess their tempo run pace through timing while others that are looking for a bit more precision will use their heart rate. Heart rate-based running takes a bit more time to become adjusted to. But, once you are there…you can get truly dialed in through regular heart rate monitoring.
It will with practice improve your endurance running. You can choose to do a run or two at this pace during the week, or even integrate it directly into your running schedule. For example, on a day when you have scheduled a long run, start and finish it by 15 min at your tempo run’s pace and go easier in between.
IT is also another component of your training program for running long distances. This is probably the most popular speed workout. You set a distance and repeat it a set number of times, at the same pace, with a short break in between. This can be done at any distance. They can be quite unpleasant and leave you out of breath and flushed. To improve speed and endurance, your running pace needs to be high.
The benefits of interval training are numerous: it will increase your heart functions, more efficiently than standard cardio training. Within a few weeks, it will also increase the amount of oxygen that your body can use. Overall it will, therefore, increase your stamina and endurance.
If you have never done interval training before, there is no need to start with a big distance. You can for example start with 100m at top speed with 2 or 3 minutes of walking or jogging in between. Slowly build up until you can do 6 to 8 of those, then over time increase distance to 150 meters, a bit more…Soon enough you will be enough to do 10 reps of 200 meters with 2 minutes in between each.
If you are up for a bit of a challenge try hill workouts.
Running uphill is challenging and good for improving speed. Going back down that hill will work your quads and joints. You can choose to do a short distance at a high pace for a tough workout, or incorporate some in your scheduled longer runs.
By adding some of these into your standard easy pace runs, you will improve over time your running stamina and overall endurance. But it is not the only type of workout you can do…running performance is not only about running.
Strengthen Your Lower Body and Core
Full body strength training should be a part of your endurance running training. It complements your efforts in running and will help you maintain your race pace for longer. Of course, there is also plenty you can do with running training like hill training, but strengthening your lower body will give you the strength and agility you need to go further. To make your strength training efficient for your running performances, you need to focus on the muscles that will help you achieve peak performance in your race. You also want to target specific exercises that will require multi-joint movement and use various muscles. Try to get creative rather than just using gym equipment that might only make your work in a very specific area.
Your workout should include exercises for your legs such as burpees, squats, lunges, jumping squats. You can make some of those more difficult by holding weights against your chest or with hands racked to your shoulders.
Planks, side planks, and push-ups are good exercises to strengthen your core.
This is not something that should usually take a huge amount of time in your training. You will find that in most running programs, doing some reps of these for 20 minutes 3 or 4 times a week is usually enough.
For varying your training, you can also consider training in a pool (and check out below our input about cold water therapy). Working in a cold environment can give you faster results and swimming is also good for cardio training. You can do interval swimming just like running as discussed above, or you can also swim longer distances to give your body a break from running yet do some cardio.
You can mix things up with pool running. This can be very helpful, especially in case of an injury or muscle soreness from running. The best part about pool running is that there is virtually no chance of hurting yourself. So if you are recovering from an injury or need to give some of your joints a break, this is definitely a good idea.
The important part is to maintain proper position with a straight back, just like when running on land, and try to maintain a quick pace similar to running on land so about 180 strides per minute, using your arms in the same way. If you slow your pace, you tend to extend your legs in the water and you could overexert your hamstring.
While you are running in the pool, your body will burn extra energy to keep itself warm as the water is highly conducive and you will get colder faster. You might need to eat extra calories on those days to compensate!
Endurance Running Biohacks to Experiment With:
This type of therapy, also called cryotherapy, is a technique used by a lot of athletes to help with post-workout recovery.
Research shows that putting your body in a cold environment after training (for example a cold shower or cold pool for a few minutes) can help with muscle recovery and reduce inflammation and joint pain. As explained above, pool training can be a good way to vary from your running workouts.
Some gyms now offer cryotherapy in a cold air chamber. It is believed not only to help with muscle recovery but also to improve blood oxygenation.
The use of compression gear has become increasingly popular in the last few years.
There are two ways you can use those with your training. First, you can find compression tights or shorts and use them for some of your runs. The reduction of muscle movement that it provides is believed to assist in good body alignment. It also increases the blood flow and therefore the supply of oxygen to your muscles. This can help to sustain performance for longer runs.
Second, for some runners, it also helps with recovery after a training session. You can experiment with wearing compression gear for a few hours after a long session. This may help reduce muscle soreness and potential inflammation.
Endurance Running Biohacks – Ensuring Continuous and Efficient Energy Delivery During the Run
Intermittent Fasting has grown very popular over the last few years, and a lot of athletes have been using this type of diet and explain they do feel better for it. This is one option that you can look into. It might seem counter-intuitive to run or exercise while in a fasting state. However, for some, it is the key to more energy and better performance. This might not work for everyone’s metabolism. Therefore, we suggest talking to a health professional or coach before you experiment with this. Also, have a slow start to give your body time to adjust.
The ketogenic diet (also known as the keto diet) is also another option that is popular amongst athletes. The logic behind it is that you transition your body by restricting the number of carbs you eat to induce your body to go into ketosis. Your metabolism transitions to using ketones (fats) to fuel the body and the brain. This is not the magical solution for every person that wants to improve endurance, as first to achieve ketosis your diet will be very strict, and second, it will take a while for your body to adjust. Once again, use the help of a health professional to determine what is right for you.
Proper nutrition is key to give your body the right type of food, and fuel it needs. Once you have adjusted your diet plan to fit your goals, you can also look into supplementing that diet.
Endurance Running Biohacks through Nutritional Supplements
To enhance your diet and performance, there are a lot of supplements or smart drugs you can look into. Of course, these will not magically make you run twice as long or replace training. However, they can give you a little push towards the finish line.
Protein is a favorite amongst people training for muscle gain, but you also need it for endurance training. You can use a powder form to incorporate into a drink. But, you will also find protein bars specifically designed for runners to keep going during long runs.
Creatine, also a popular option amongst bodybuilders, helps with muscle recovery, an area that is important for endurance. It can help your body recover from any damages incurred during training, or reduce inflammation.
L-Glutamine is one of the most common amino acids produced by the body. However, if your body is under a lot of stress from hard training, your levels might get lower. Adding L-Glutamine as a supplement to your diet might help prevent muscle damage and improve your overall endurance.
Now that you have a full picture of endurance running biohacks, all is left is to try them out. See how you can reach your peak performance and running stamina!
Ready to get back to racing? Check out our new article to help you get back into racing shape!
Hungry for more biohacks? Check out our Hack category page and some of these articles!
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- How to Biohack Muscle Recovery