Most of us who work out are familiar with the term of “hitting the wall”. It is a point when the lactic acid build up reaches a point where our bodies tell us to stop. When running, this “wall” is where we feel that we just can’t keep on going. I’m not the most amazing runner, but I have come a long way. You can read more about that battle here. It’s not about comparing yourself to other but improving yourself and meeting your personal goals. I’ve had to take certain steps in order to break through my walls and meet my goals. However, I have been able to and surpass them. The great thing is I now get to work towards new goals. Build my strength and better myself even more. So here are my 3 steps that helped me break through my barrier.
When you exercise, your breathing increases in order to provide enough oxygen to the muscles. When you muscles build up enough lactic acid it can tense your body and cause more labored breathing. When your breathing becomes labored it can’t provide enough oxygen to your muscles to keep going. For me, being an asthmatic, breathing was paramount to my success. It’s very important to control your breathing. If you can make sure you are taking good breaths and getting enough oxygen, then you can go further longer. I had to make sure I got enough oxygen when running, so I counted my breathing. Breath in for 1, 2, 3, breath out for 1, 2, 3. Sometimes it was hard not to break it down to 2 in 2 out. However, I refuse to do less and eventually it’s no longer a struggle to get the full three and I’m back to breathing easier.
The more intense your work out the higher your body temperature can rise. When you run in cold weather you still have the urge to take off layers regardless of how cold it is. If you get overheated, your not going to be able to keep going. The night I was able to break through my wall, was perfect temperature conditions. It was chilly, not cold but chilly enough to normally need a jacket. When my body temperature started rising, I was able to still stay at a normal temperature. I wasn’t pouring sweat due to overheating. It made a huge difference for my body to be comfortable. It doesn’t have to be perfect conditions every time. Once you break through the barrier and just keep going not only does your body get stronger, but your mind is too. It will be easier the next time.
Where you Run
Obviously if you choose to run up a mountain, you are going to struggle more. So picking your route is going to make a big difference. Once again when I was able to break through my barrier, I started up in some hills and ran all the way downhill. Some may see that as cheating but here is how it worked out. My barrier was being able to run a mile without stopping. I’d never been able to do it. I had done an easy run earlier that day. My muscles were warm, I had trained my breathing. My second run I was running on a slight downhill, The temperature was perfect. Not only did I run a miles without stopping but I ran 6 miles without stopping. Since that day, even under more difficult conditions I have never had to stop running within a couple miles.
To be clear there was lots of training involved with this accomplishment. You do have to do the work to train and have the capacity to accomplish your goal. I had been training and was easily capable of it but just needed the right conditions to prove it to myself that I could do it. After that, the particular goal was easy sailing. Now I get to work towards newer and better goals.
4 responses to “Running: “Hitting the Wall” 3 Steps to Breaking Through”
Good post. I’ve also learned that sometimes changing the pace does help a little with the wall. Maybe sprint a bit for a few hundred metres, then resume my usual pace. But oh boy can I relate to just being stuck at that wall the entire run. Anyway, thanks for this post!
Thank you! I love that method, most would give in to the impulse to slow down. Instead push harder so the regular pace is a relief. Thank you for the comment. How often do you run? Have you done any races?
I currently run every other day for about an hour (which at my slow pace comes up to 9km). But no races. Am doing this solely for the feels, lol. Yes, I’m a junkie.
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Haha, my pace isn’t the best either. I love to preach that I don’t compare myself to anyone but me. I’ve come a long way. I checked out your website. You have a charming way of talking, and it’s makes your posts fun. Something I think I’ll need to work on.
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