It is actually our brain that sets the limit for how fast we can run or how hard we can work out. When you think about it, it is actually not that strange. The brain collects signals from the muscles when you run. Depending on the speed it will make you feel pain if you go to fast. This is a survival reaction so we should not feel to bad about it. But it is the brain that sets the top pace when you run fast even if your heart and muscles theoretically could go faster. There is a lot of talking about training your heart and muscles if you want to develop as a runner. Not to often do you hear about training your brain unfortunately. It has been proven in a study that mentally exhausted people perform worse than people who are not. Just imagine a training session after a hard day at work and compare it to a Saturday afternoon when the sun is shining. You will feel a difference most likely. So it seems clear that the brain can effect your performance when you are tired. But if this is the case we should be able to train our brain just like we train our body to be able to perform better.
An easy way of doing this is simply to start with what you have. Almost everybody of us are working with something during daytime, 8am-5pm in my case. At 5pm I am usually very tired. That is why I do my harder sessions just after work when my brain is somewhat exhausted from a long day. Practising this will improve my ability to perform when my brain get tired. I might not break any records during training but it will build up a tolerance for upcoming races where my brain most likely will get more exhausted than during any interval-session.
I don’t always train with a tired brain but I do it as often as I can, balance is key. In my next blog post I will add a new tip of how you can train your brain in everyday situations.
Try out some brain training. And as always, if you don’t believe in it, don’t do it!
IT-projektledare från Lund