How do we get the energy for running
In order to contract, muscles need energy, or rather a very special fuel, ATP. We can say that muscles are like machines in which chemical energy is converted into kinetic energy. In addition to the fact that muscles use energy and produce it, in the case of long-term running, almost all ATP is produced during training.
Muscles produce ATP during running by converting ATP to ADP. This releases energy in a series of chemical reactions that allow ADP to convert back into ATP. Which provides energy again.
How do we get the energy for running or What makes our muscles move?
ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate, a molecule composed of four elementary molecules, one molecule of adenosine, and three molecules of phosphate. The bond of the phosphate molecule (P) closest to adenosine is different from the others. Those other connections, when broken, give energy. Usually, the outermost bond from adenosine is broken, releasing energy that the muscles can use. The molecule now consists of adenosine and two phosphates (one with an “energy bond”) and is called adenosine diphosphate or ADP.
Muscles can deposit a very small amount of ATP, which is enough for the first few meters of running. In order for the work to continue, the muscles must produce more ATP, which they do with the rest of the previous reactions, in other words, the muscles produce all their fuel from ADP and phosphate (P). This is possible because the complex enzyme systems found in each muscle fiber can use the energy found in other muscles, mostly in the form of carbohydrates and fat from food.
Three systems for getting energy for running
ATP resynthesis occurs in three ways, i.e. using three energy mechanisms: anaerobic alactate, anaerobic lactate, and aerobic. All systems cause a reaction between ADP and phosphate where an ATP molecule is created. The difference between these energy systems lies in the energy source used to bind ADP and phosphate to form ATP.
Anaerobic alactate system
The anaerobic alactate system is typical for short-term activities, lasting up to 20 seconds at most. Energy is created without the presence of oxygen and without the production of lactic acid. When we move from rest, our muscles begin to use the small amounts of ATP found in the muscle fibers, then the ATP is created by creatine phosphate (PCR), which contains one keratin molecule and one phosphate “energy bond”.
When that bond breaks, energy is released that is used to resynthesize ATP from ADP and P. The amount of ATP that can be produced by it (four times greater than the ATP supply) is limited, because there are small amounts of PCR in the muscles. This system is not important for long-term running results.
Anaerobic lactate system
The anaerobic lactate system is also known as the glycolytic system because sugar molecules (glycolysis) are dissolved without the presence of oxygen. Energy from this system is obtained when running at submaximal intensity for a duration of 20 seconds to 3-4 minutes. Sugar molecules, more precisely glucose, are not broken down completely, but only until lactic acid production. Lactic acid molecules are not created in the muscle, but rather negative lactate ions (LA-) and positive hydrogen ions (H+), and the energy needed to produce ATP from ADP and P.
During running, the production of lactic acid in the muscles per second increases as the runner accelerates. Up to a certain speed, the body can eliminate lactic acid from the blood. It is usually absorbed by other muscles or muscle fibers of the same muscle that produced it, the heart, liver or kidneys, so the lactate level in the blood is always close to the basal value.
Lactic acid is produced in the muscles and released into the blood, where its concentration can be measured. Both the blood and muscles are present in two ions, i.e., one molecule and one electrically charged atom. The first is a negatively charged lactate molecule (LA-), and the second is a positively charged hydrogen ion (H+). Hydrogen is actually the one that causes more discomfort. Because it increases the acidity (pH) level in the muscle and can even prevent it from working properly.
When the muscles become acidic
We experience a decrease in muscle efficiency after running at high speed because the level of acidity has increased. When that level increases above a certain value, various changes occur in the muscle. The body will gradually return to its pre-training state. In some cases, this will allow it to tolerate higher levels of acidity. Hydrogen ions not only impair the work of the muscles but also affect the brain because when they are released into the blood, they easily reach the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds it. Therefore, high production of lactic acid negatively affects mental clarity, movement coordination, and reaction speed. These effects can be partly attributed to ammonia, which the muscles also produce.
The aerobic system is characterized by the fact that energy is obtained with the presence of oxygen. In this system too, energy can be obtained from glucose molecules, but unlike the anaerobic lactate system, here glucose is completely broken down thanks to complex biochemical reactions in the presence of oxygen. These reactions can also take place on the basis of fatty acids. Glucose and fatty acids burn to carbon dioxide and water:
- glucose + oxygen → carbon dioxide + water + energy
- fatty acids + oxygen → carbon dioxide + water + energy
Energy is used to produce ATP from ADP and P in this system. Even a small amount of energy is obtained from the reaction with amino acids, the elementary molecules of proteins. Through breathing, oxygen enters the muscles, specifically the mitochondria, and cellular organelles for aerobic energy production. The result in the race depends on the amount of oxygen supplied to the muscle fibers per minute, and on the amount of oxygen that the muscle fibers can use.
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The craziest world records at the London Marathon
London marathon is one of the world’s biggest marathons, especially unique because it breaks the craziest Guinness World Records. This year there were as many as 34 attempts, 18 of which were successfully defeated by runners who were dressed as mythical creatures, dentists, or were dressed in silk pajamas.
Running in costume as a personal challenge or for charity
This year, too, thousands of people descended on the streets of London, where many donned costumes, either as a personal challenge or to help a charity organization.
The official judge of the Guinness Book of Records was Will Munford who stood at the finish line as a checker. And he welcomed David Jones who was the first runner to break the record by crossing the finish line and breaking the record for running in his pajamas in 2:47:15.
To be honest, my family knows that I’ve always been fit and that I give my best in whatever I do, so this venture didn’t surprise them. They just said, ‘You should be slower at 41, not faster’, but everyone was very proud of me, and everyone who knows me already thought I was going to make it.David Jones, new World record holder for running marathon in pajamas
Among the other records was Sarah Dudgeon, who broke the Guinness record by running dressed as a witch in 3:11.52.
Donato Esposito became the fastest marathoner dressed as a hospital patient in 3:19.23, and Victoria Carter ran the London Marathon in 3:23.48 dressed as a vampire.
The official referee is delighted with the records
The official judge chimed in when he saw the records being broken, saying “It’s very inspiring to see these records first hand.”
Marathon is a team sport
A group of six runners, Tristan Clark, Freddie Flanagan, Freddie Wright, John Lavelle, George Peirson, and Hugh Williams ran the marathon all in a pack and literally in 4:25.12. In this way, they broke the record for the fastest marathon in a costume for six people.
Lexi Chambers broke the world record for the fastest marathon in a non-racing wheelchair.
Najluđi Ginisovi rekordi – Kompletna lista
And here is a complete list of 18 Guinness World Records achieved at this year’s 2022 London Marathon from 34 attempts.
- David Jones: The fastest runner in silk pajamas – 2:47:15
- David Henson: Fastest Handcuffed Runner – 2:54:57
- Sarah Dudgeon: Fastest Witch – 3:11:52
- Gower Tan: Fastest Scientist – 3:14:16
- Donato Esposito: Fastest hospital patient – 3:19:23
- Andrew Roberts: The fastest badminton player – 3:23:33
- Victoria Carter: The fastest marathoner dressed as a vampire – 3:23:48
- Jeremie Maillard: Fastest Mythical Creature – 3:26:38
- Emanuela Pizzoni: The fastest marathon runner in a toga – 3:27:18
- Belinda Neild: Fastest Office Item – 3:38:22
- Kristina Beadle: Fastest Mythical Creature – 3:43:41
- Matt Brooks: Fastest Star – 3:44:00
- Martin Porter: Fastest Harlequin – 3:51:35
- Joan Pons Laplana: Fastest cup – 3:58:52
- Tristan Clark, Freddie Flanagan, Freddie Wright, John Lavelle, George Peirson, Hugh Williams: Fastest Six Person Costume Marathon – 4:25:12
- Kellie Clark: Fastest Candy – 4:24:06
- Sadie Smith: Fastest three-dimensional part of the human body – 4:26:43
- Lexi Chambers: Fastest non-racing wheelchair marathon – 4:32:11
How to plan your race season?
By now, you’ve probably implemented a running plan that helps you reach a clear goal – run a certain distance or achieve a desired time. Running alone or in a group, with or without a coach, you know that you need to prepare your body and mind for the race. Various programs are available to everyone to help with this. But how to plan your race season?
Planning is half the battle!
Should I have a race plan in addition to my training plan?
If you train regularly and enjoy going to races, creating a personal race plan is also a great tool for reaching your goals.
Do you register for races “spontaneously” or according to plan? Read below what you should pay attention to when planning your race season.
Do you have your goal?
For example: This year I decided to break my 10km record. This race season I will run a half marathon in less than 01h50′. I’m planning to run my first ultra. I want to place high in my league.
Although these statements are not measurable in the same way, they can be the basis for determining personal goals. It is important that each goal is clear and realistic for you. Then you’ll know if you just need to be in shape to finish the race or if you need to push yourself to be better than you are now.
The goal doesn’t have to be just one. But you shouldn’t set too many different goals at once. A goal should constantly motivate you.
Why is it useful to have a plan (race season) in advance?
Better results require even better preparation. And good preparation takes time. Another time we must count on is recovery time! Both are important because of changing the possibility of injury and overloading the body.
In short, if you balance your activities on time, the realization will be of better quality.
In addition, if you like to fit as many races as possible between your work and other obligations, it will mean that you plan your time and finances and logistics in advance.
And finally, with a plan in place, you can measure progress and results as you rush toward your next goal!
Determine your priorities in race season
Of course, according to your own criteria and wishes, and for the purpose of achieving your goal. For example: If your goal is to reduce your half marathon time, you can do this by training and running shorter distances. You can also reach that goal through marathon preparations. Or you will run several half marathons and reach your peak at some point.
The bottom line is to prioritize races that can help you get there.
You can put all the races during the year in your 3 categories.
Category I – priority races, the achievement of your goal, the moment towards which you direct your training, the races where you want to reach your maximum.
There should not be too many such races if you devote 8-12 weeks to thorough preparation. A few days before the main race, the training intensity will decrease. If there are more, the time between them should be enough for rest and recovery.
Category II – second in importance to you, but they participate in the preparation for the main races. They are good for testing the current preparation.
These races do not even have to be the same format as the main race. They should not feel pressure because of the results. These are, so to speak, training races, where you definitely give your best. And of course, they’re far enough away from the priority race that you don’t use up the energy you’ll need in the main race.
Category III – races and various sports events that have nothing to do with your intended goal, but you enjoy them and the result is not important to you. Here you can recharge your batteries, make friends, maintain your enthusiasm, get to know each other… And it’s a kind of training.
Create your own race season calendar
What you put in the third category is no less important than the first two. The essence is that races from all three categories are spread over a longer period of time. First the main races, then those from the II and III categories, so that the III category does not threaten the first, i.e. it is not too close to the main race.
(Avoid) Overdoing the races
There is no ideal number of races. Just like the number of training sessions during the week. Both are individual. If you rush to every race you can get to, you risk losing the enthusiasm that will benefit you in the main race of the season. Because every race is as much a mental activity as it is a physical one.
A few more details
Before the race – Find out as much as you can about your main race (and other races as well). Find out about everything – from the field to mandatory equipment and rules, to refreshments and other information. This way you will avoid unpleasant surprises and be better prepared.
After the Race – Learn something about yourself after every race. Maybe your plan needs to be adjusted?
Before and after – Leave room for spontaneous decisions. Leave room for rest. Leave room for exploration.
What is glycogen? Why there is a lack of glycogen and hitting the marathon wall and how to avoid it
The liver converts carbohydrates into glycogen. Glycogen then goes to the muscles and is stored there. It “burns” quickly and gives the body fast energy. Although this is the basic energy for sprinters, so you should pay attention to the lack of glycogen. It is important to say that marathon runners use it and consume fat.
Glycogen is a fuel
Fat reserves of runners are not a problem. But glycogen reserves are because they cannot be available as long as fat reserves. On average, a runner can store the equivalent of 8 MJ or 2000 kcal of glycogen in the body. Which is enough for about 30 km of running. Of course, this value is not constant for all runners, for some it is less than 30 km. Many marathoners say running after that limit becomes very difficult.
When glycogen drops to a minimum, the body begins to burn fat. Which then provides the necessary energy, but this fat-burning is not as continuous as the burning of glycogen. When this happens, the marathon runner will feel very tired. This phenomenon is usually called the marathon wall. Because it has the impression that the runner hit a wall – suddenly lost strength and slowed down.
The task of training and nutrition for a marathon race is to keep glycogen stores as high as possible so that the “wall” is not so dramatic. Avoiding or disposing of the “wall” can be achieved by using a higher percentage of the energy obtained by burning fat during the early phase of the race, which leads to glycogen savings.
In order for a runner to start consuming fast energy from glycogen, he must run with as high a pulse as possible. Therefore in the higher aerobic zone, and at times in the anaerobic zone. Then carbohydrate/glycogen metabolism prevails over fat metabolism and energy is expended quickly. If you do the opposite – slow down. Fat consumption increases and the use of glycogen decreases by that much, which then lasts longer. Therefore, marathoners, slow down!
Food on the road
There is another way to minimize the effects of the “wall”. By using energy gels that are based on simple sugars (dextrose) that are digested very quickly and resorbed into the blood. Giving the much-needed glycogen to the body.
Generally, these gels are used for 45 to 60 minutes during the race. And they are drunk with the appropriate amount of water. Gels usually contain sodium, and some gels contain caffeine. Some runners use a solution of dextrose in water or some isotonic drinks sweetened with dextrose instead of gel. Dextrose is a simple sugar (D-glucose, grape sugar) that is not digested but is directly resorbed into the bloodstream and provides energy for the muscles.
After the race, you should eat food (and drink) rich in carbohydrates as soon as possible in order to prevent glycogen deficiency, and you should also add proteins (meat, soy…) to speed up the healing of leg muscles. Intake of vitamin C in any form is also implied (it is a good antioxidant). Rest and recovery are necessary after a lot of effort. Only when you recover well, slowly start training again.
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